A far-right, pro-gun, pro-torture populist has been elected as Brazil’s next president after a drama-filled and deeply divisive election that looks set to radically reforge the future of the world’s fourth biggest democracy. Jair Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old former paratrooper who built his campaign around pledges to crush corruption, crime and a supposed communist threat, secured 55.1% of the votes after 99.9% were counted and was therefore elected Brazil’s next president, electoral authorities said on Sunday. Bolsonaro’s leftist rival, Fernando Haddad, secured 44.8% of votes. In a video broadcast from his home in Rio de Janeiro, Bolsonaro thanked God and vowed to stamp out corruption in the country. “We cannot continue flirting with communism … We are going to change the destiny of Brazil,” he said.
Haddad, the defeated Workers’ party (PT) candidate, urged the 45 million voters who had backed him not to lose hope. “We will continue with our heads held high, with determination and with courage,” he said. “We have a lifelong commitment to this country and we will not allow this country to go backwards.”
Donald Trump called Bolsonaro to congratulate him and both men expressed a strong commitment to work together, the White House said.
Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, offered his congratulations to Bolsonaro, tweeting: “Even in #Brazil the citizens have sent the left packing!” The French far-right leader Marine Le Pen also sent a message of encouragement.