Brazil election: Jair Bolsonaro makes Trumpian pledge as poll shows big lead
Brazil Brazil election: Jair Bolsonaro makes Trumpian pledge as poll shows big lead
Rightwinger 15 points ahead as he rallies supporters with âmake Brazil great againâ slogan
The far-right frontrunner to become the next president of Latin Americaâs largest democracy has vowed to make Brazil great again, as election-eve polls gave him a commanding lead in what many view as the most important election in its history .
âLetâs make Brazil Great! Letâs be proud of our homeland once again!â Jair Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old former paratrooper notorious for his hostility to black and gay people, the environment and the left, proclaimed in a Trumpian live broadcast to his seven million Facebook followers on Saturday night.
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With just hours to go until 147 million Brazilians choose their next leader on Sunday, polls gave Bolsonaro a 15-point lead over his closest rival, the Workersâ party (PT) candidate Fernando Haddad, with about 40% of intended votes.
That would not be enough to avoid a second-round showdown with the leftist on 28 October, since an outright majority is required for a win. âIt is unlikely that this election will be decided in the first-round,â said Glauco Peres, a political scienti st from the University of SÃ£o Paulo.
However, Bolsonaroâs ascendancy in the polls and the palpably erratic mood in Brazil is such that a first-round win is no longer considered an impossibility. âEverything here has been so unpredictable that I donât know if Iâll put my neck on the line for anything anymore,â Peres said.
The prospect of a Bolsonaro presidency has horrified Brazilian minorities and progressives, with celebrities including Madonna, Cher and Stephen Fry also condemning the rise of a politician with a long and ignominious track-record of hate speech.
âIf I see two men kissing each other in the street, Iâll whack them,â Bolsonaro told an interviewer in 2002. Nine years later he declared: âIâd rather my son died in an accident than showed up with some bloke with a moustache.â'Enraged, disillusioned, desperate': how will Brazilians vote in 2018? Read more
The Margaret Thatcher-quoting, Donald Trump-admiring populist is also notorious for his regard for repression. âI am in favor of a dictatorship â¦ We will never resolve serious national problems with this irresponsible democracy,â the presidential pacesetter, whose campaign team is packed with retired generals, once said.
On the eve of Sundayâs election, Bolsonaroâs rivals made last minute pleas for voters to reconsider.
âMy country is walking towards a precipice,â warned Ciro Gomes, the Democratic Labour party candidate, who is in third place with about 15% of intended votes.
âBrazil is on the verge of an irreversible rupture,â warned Marina Silva, the fifth-placed Sustainability Network party candidate.
A PT campaign video likened Bolsonaro to Adolf Hitler and urged voters: âNot him!â
Bolsonaro followers, however, believe Brazil is on the verge of a historic shift under a corruption-busting, communist-combating conservative who can lead their country out of moral decay and its worst even recession.
âBolsonaro is Brazilâs only option right now if it wants to avoid becoming a Venezuela,â said Paulo Henrique Villa Boas, a 46-year-old supporter from the north-eastern city of Recife. âBolsonaro fights communists. They want to implement this ideology â" which has killed millions of people in other countries â" here in Brazil.â
Max Cavalcanti, another local follower, called Bolso naro a patriot cut from the same cloth as Nigel Farage, Marine Le Penand Matteo Salvini.
âThey are all defenders of their territory, their fatherland. They are sovereignists,â said Cavalcanti, 34, adding: âItâs Bolsonaro against everyone â" against the system.âTopics
- Jair Bolsonaro
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