Brazil Elects Far-Right President

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Jair Bolsonaro will assume office for his four-year term as president of Brazil on January 1st, 2019 succeeding Michel Temer. The newly elected president of Brazil is the latest right-wing populist to take over a country; in large part due to misinformation spread to ignorant people and his catering to a conservative Christian voting base. This is considered to be the nation’s most radical political change since democracy was restored more than 30 years ago.

“We have everything we need to become a great nation,” Mr. Bolsonaro said Sunday night shortly after the race was called in a video broadcast on his Facebook account. “Together we will change the destiny of Brazil.”
The New York Times reports:

Mr. Bolsonaro, who will take the helm of Latin America’s biggest nation, is further to the right than any president in the region where voters have recently embraced more conservative leaders in Argentina, Chile, Peru, Paraguay and Colombia. He joins a number of far-right politicians who have risen to power around the world, including Italy’s deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, and Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary.

Bolsonaro joined the reserve in 1988 with the rank of captain and ran for the Rio de Janeiro City Council that year, being elected as a member of the Christian Democratic Party. In 1990 Bolsonaro was elected to the lower chamber of Congress and was subsequently re-elected six times. During his 27-year tenure as a congressman, Bolsonaro became known for his strong support of national conservatism. He is a vocal opponent of left-wing policies; including same-sex marriage, abortion, affirmative action, drug liberalization and secularism. In foreign policy, he has advocated closer relations to the United States and Israel.

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Some of his previous statements show his far right stances: “I would be incapable of loving a homosexual son,” Jair Bolsonaro told Playboy magazine in 2011. “I won’t be a hypocrite: I prefer a son to die in an accident than show up with a mustachioed guy. He’d be dead to me anyway.”

Sarah Jones explains for the Intelligencer:

The Christian right has always been a global entity, and culture war is a conflict without borders. The nationalism of figures like Bolsonaro concerns itself not just with the physical or economic security of a nation’s ruling class, but builds itself around a claim to moral hygiene too. The conservative Christians who send men like Bolsonaro into office do so with the understanding that they will be able enforce an agenda that strips minority groups of civil rights. From Bolsonaro’s disgust for gay men to [Hungary’s] Orbán’s supremacist definition of Christian democracy, the goal of this Christian-inflected nationalism is to shape a nation’s government into its own anti-democratic image.

Reeling from the deepest recession in the country’s history, a corruption scandal that tarnished politicians across the ideological spectrum, and a record-high number of homicides last year, Brazilians picked a candidate who not only rejected the political establishment but at times also seemed to reject the most basic democratic tenets.

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