Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right frontrunner in next month’s Brazilian presidential election, is in a serious condition in hospital after being stabbed while campaigning. Bolsonaro was taken to hospital in the town of Juiz de Fora, about 125 miles (200km) north of Rio de Janeiro, after he was stabbed by a man who rushed up to him while he was being carried through a crowd on the shoulders of a supporter. He was in a serious but stable condition after injuries to his abdomen, surgeons at the Santa Casa de Misericórdia hospital said. Bolsonaro’s son Flávio – himself a candidate for the Brazilian Senate – tweeted that his father was “almost dead” when he arrived at hospital, having lost a lot of blood.
In an especially unpredictable election campaign, Bolsonaro has polarised opinion with homophobic comments, calls for looser gun laws, attacks on the left and praise for Brazil’s 1964-85 military dictatorship, which tortured thousands of its opponents and executed hundreds more. He faces trial before the supreme court for speech that prosecutors said incited hate and rape.
Yet rising violent crime, anger over repeated corruption scandals and an efficient social media operation have helped him build support, and he is second in the polls to former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has been barred from running because of a criminal conviction for corruption.