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Jair Bolsonaro has won - so what’s next for Brazil?

31 October 2018

Supporters celebrated in the streets, setting off fireworks at Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach, and in Sao Paulo they gathered on the central avenue with banners and flags.

In some of his first words to the nation as president-elect, far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro promised to defend the constitution and unite a bitterly divided populace. The president-elect will be sworn in on January 1.

Joao Nato said he believes the imprisonment of former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on corruption charges were unfair. Brazil has for years been one of the world's most risky countries for environmental defenders, and the Bolsonaro presidency could make their situation more dire.

Bolsonaro made his own final pitch on social media, the only place he has campaigned since an attacker stabbed him in the stomach at a rally last month, sending him to the hospital for three weeks. In March, Marielle Franco, a lesbian city councilor in Rio de Janeiro, was shot and killed.

Wearing an army-green jacket, he left with a double thumbs-up, saying only that he could not make a statement for security reasons. He twice told a female colleague in Congress she was too ugly to be raped, said a dead son was preferable to a gay one and often disparaged blacks and indigenous people.

But an even larger portion of voters reject Haddad and the tarnished legacy of his Workers' Party.

The Latin American giant's election came on the heels of its worst-ever recession, a staggering multi-billion-dollar corruption scandal and a year of record-setting violent crime.

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Incidentally, both - United States and Brazil - are now ruled by conservative populists promising to overturn the political establishment.

Lula remains the country's most popular politician, despite being accused of masterminding the massive pilfering of state oil company Petrobras.

French President Emmanuel Macron also congratulated Bolsonaro.

An outspoken admirer of U.S. President Donald Trump, Bolsonaro also pledged a smaller government and to realign Brazil with more advanced economies, overhauling diplomatic priorities after almost a decade and a half of leftist rule.

"We're electing our captain".

She also interpreted the results as a rebuke by Brazilians of "the widespread corruption and terrifying crime that flourished under far-left governments".

Feelings on the other side were equally strong.

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In his decades-long career in Congress and as a presidential candidate, Bolsonaro has endorsed abusive practices that undermine the rule of law, defended the country´s dictatorship, and has been a vocal proponent of bigotry, Human Rights Watch said.

"He incites hatred. If he becomes president, he'll legitimize all that hatred inside people".

Brazilian citizens who live in MA joined their fellow country-mates and headed to the polls Sunday to participate in the South American country's run-off presidential election.

"I don't really like either candidate", Elias Chaim, 23, an engineering student and music producer, told AFP at a polling station facing Rio's Copacabana beach.

As late as Sunday morning, Haddad was still holding out hope that he could win after receiving several key endorsements late Saturday.

In Sao Paulo, the economic capital, Marcos Kotait, 40, a publicist, said he had "never seen such a polarized election" as he waited to cast his ballot.

"This is a dark day for Brazil; Brazilian democracy is now in complete crisis", Weisbrot said.

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"By preventing former president Lula da Silva, Brazil's most popular politician, from running in this election, the country's right-wing elites subverted democracy and paved the way for a risky fascist to take power", Weisbrot said.

Jair Bolsonaro has won - so what’s next for Brazil?