Jair Bolsonaro has won the Brazil’s presidential election with 55.5 per cent of votes against 44.5 per cent of leftist Fernando Haddad with 96 per cent of ballots counted.
Bolsonaro said in an acceptance address in which he vowed to carry out his campaign promises to stamp out corruption after years of leftist rule, “We cannot continue flirting with communism.
“We are going to change the destiny of Brazil.”
Thousands of supporters of Bolsonaro cheered and set off fireworks outside his home in Rio de Janeiro’s Barra de Tijuca beachfront neighborhood as his victory was announced.
But many Brazilians are concerned that Bolsonaro – who has spoken fondly of Brazil’s military dictatorship in 1964-1985 and who has defended its use of torture on leftist opponents – will trample on human rights, curtail civil liberties and muzzle freedom of speech.
Bolsonaro has vowed to crack down on crime in Brazil’s cities and farm belt by granting police more autonomy to shoot at criminals.
The new leader also wants to let more Brazilians buy weapons to fight crime.
The race had tightened in recent days after opinion polls had Bolsonaro leading by as much as 18 percentage points. But Mr Haddad was unable to make up the difference.
Far-right former army captain has a long history of offensive remarks about immigrants, black Brazilians and gay people.
In a speech made last year, Bolsonaro spoke about a black settlement founded by the descendants of slaves. “They do nothing. They are not even good for procreation,” he said.
He has also reportedly referred to black activists as “animals” who should “go back to the zoo”.
(Featured image: The Wire)