Brazil’s far-right leader to take office


A far-right former army captain will be sworn in as Brazil’s new president later on Tuesday.

Jair Bolsonaro, 63, won the presidential election by a wide margin against Fernando Haddad of the left-wing Workers’ Party on 28 October.

Mr Bolsonaro was propelled to victory by his campaign promises to curb Brazil’s rampant corruption and crime.

But he has proven a deeply divisive figure whose racist, homophobic and misogynistic remarks have angered many.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will represent the US at the inauguration, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will represent Israel. Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban is the only leader from the European Union set to attend.

Mr Bolsonaro has been scathing in his criticism of the left-wing governments of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, and has cancelled invitations to their leaders.

Who is he?

Despite portraying himself as a political outsider during his campaign, Mr Bolsonaro served seven terms in Brazil’s lower house of Congress, the Chamber of Deputies, before being elected president.

He has been a member of several political parties but is currently in the Social Liberal Party (PSL), which has grown from having a tiny presence in Congress to becoming the party with the second largest number of deputies in the lower house.

Before becoming a politician, Mr Bolsonaro served in Brazil’s military, where he was a paratrooper and rose to the rank of captain.

How close are his ties to the military?

Very. During his time as a lawmaker, Mr Bolsonaro represented the interests of the armed forces and since his election he has named seven former military men to key ministries.

He has also expressed nostalgia for the time when Brazil was under military rule and the hard-line policies enforced during the period in which thousands were jailed and tortured.

He has praised that era as a “glorious period” in Brazil’s history.