Brazil has elected far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro to be the next president after winning a decisive election victory on Sunday, promising to drain the political swamp and tackle corruption in Latin America’s biggest country. Bolsonaro, who was a congressman for almost three decades, won 55.2 percent of the vote, defeating his opponent Fernando Haddad, who represents the left-wing Workers’ Party. He ran a campaign with rhetoric of being a new voice in Brazil with plans to return financial stability to a country that has faced recession in 2016. But his comments concerning women, race and human rights have been biggest headlines throughout the campaign that have many citing similarities to Donald Trump.
Brazil’s new president has many striking similarities to Donald Trump when it comes to rhetoric and domestic policy.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) October 29, 2018
Jair Bolsonaro ran a campaign that sounded similar to Donald Trump’s back in 2016 with calls for smashing what he sees as a corrupt and irresponsible political system that has forgotten ordinary citizens. Law and order, patriotism and religious values were themes he advocated for throughout the campaign. Similar to Trump, he has also attacked his leftist detractors as enemies of the people.
During his victory rally, Bolsonaro said he was a “defender of freedom” who would run a government that would defend citizens who “follow their duties and respect the laws.” President Trump took to Twitter on Monday to congratulate Bolsonaro and said “the United States will work closely together on Trade, Military and everything else.”
Bolsonaro has made controversial comments even before he began his run for president.
Brazil's new president, Jair Bolsonaro, has become known for making offensive and controversial declarations. Here he is in his own words. pic.twitter.com/uagt8ktQSt
— The Guardian (@guardian) October 29, 2018
Bolsonaro has drawn public criticism for his statements about women and homosexuality dating back before his run for president. Back in 2014, Bolsonaro told a congresswoman he “wouldn’t rape you because you don’t deserve it.” During a Playboy interview in 2011, he said “I would prefer my son to die in an accident than be gay,” according to the Huffington Post. Just this year, Bolsonaro was charged by Brazil’s attorney general with “inciting hatred towards black, gay and indigenous people,” the New York Times reported.
Many women have protested his victory citing fears of a more radical and nationalist Brazil that isn’t accepting of diversity and equal rights.
Demonstrators protest against the far right presidential candidate, Jair #Bolsonaro, under the hashtag #EleNao (not him), in #Rio de Janeiro, #Brazil. (Fernando Souza / AFP) https://t.co/cvBMXWZKjT pic.twitter.com/9qeNl3ckUK
— POW photos (@pow_photos) October 29, 2018
Women have been at the forefront of the push back against Bolsonaro and his campaign rhetoric has prompted rallies like the “Women Against Bolsonaro march” in Sao Paulo. There have been social media campaigns with the slogan #EleNão, or “Not Him” that women have used and chanted throughout his campaign. Many of them feel that Bolsonaro is a leader that isn’t cognitive of women/gay rights in Brazil.
“Bolsonaro has opened a Pandora box,” Luka Franca, a protest organizer told CNN. “He’s given a voice to an ultra right population who want to voice their prejudice and annihilate anyone who is different.”
What does Bolsonaro’s victory mean for Brazil moving forward?
— The Associated Press (@AP) October 29, 2018
With the election of Bolsonaro, Brazil enters a new era of leadership after The Workers’ Party governed Brazil for more than 13 years. Voters put him into office similarly to why many Americans voted Donald Trump into office back in 2016. Fears of lack of jobs and complacent government that citizens couldn’t trust anymore. Now Bolsonaro must make good on his campaign promises and unite a country that has been divided by a divisive election. It will have to start with the economy and more importance on job creation in Brazil.
“If the next president only governs for his supporters, the divisiveness we’re living will remain,” Marco Antonio Teixeira, a political science professor told CNN. “If he chooses to govern for the whole country, there is a greater chance these conflicts will be minimized or disappear.”