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Dublin: 6 °C Friday 22 November, 2019

'Tropical Trump': Who is Brazil's new President Jair Bolsonaro?

Bolsonaro garnered just over 55% in Sunday’s election.

President elect Jair Bolsonaro, is the latest far right leader to be elected to power. Bolsonaro pictured with his wife Michelle.
President elect Jair Bolsonaro, is the latest far right leader to be elected to power. Bolsonaro pictured with his wife Michelle.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

AS IRELAND WAS gripped in re-electing Michael D Higgins, Brazil had its own Presidential election this weekend. 

It saw far right Jair Bolsonaro elected to lead the country, on a margin of 55.13% of the vote.  

Former army captain, turned longtime congressman, Bolsonaro has been nicknamed ‘tropical Trump’ over his controversial remarks about women, gays, blacks and other minority groups. 

Speaking on Monday Bolsonaro said his administration would make tackling the country’s budget-crushing pension system a top priority, doubling down on a campaign promise that made him the choice of the business community despite frequently saying he doesn’t understand the economy.

The tough-talking former army captain cruised to a 10-point victory on Sunday by capitalizing on widespread frustration in Latin America’s largest economy, which has fallen on hard times less than a decade after being a darling of investors among emerging markets.

He once told a lawmaker he opposed that she “wasn’t worth raping”; he has said he would rather see his sons die than come out as gay; and he commented after visiting one black community that they “do nothing — they’re so useless I doubt they can procreate.”

“Only one Donald Trump”

The White House said US President Donald Trump had called Bolsonaro to congratulate him.

“Both expressed a strong commitment to work side-by-side to improve the lives of the people of the United States and Brazil, and as regional leaders, of the Americas,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

Responding to suggestions Brazil has now created its own Trump, Sanders said: 

There’s only one Donald Trump.

Bolsonaro’s victory moved Brazil, the world’s fourth-largest democracy, sharply to the right after four consecutive elections in which candidates from the left-leaning Workers’ Party won.

The 63-year-old will take office on January first. 

With reporting by AP and © – AFP, 2018

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