With almost all of the vote reported, Jair Messias Bolsonaro from The Social Liberal Party will almost certainly be Brazil’s next president.
But who is this new world leader? And why has the gaze of the entire world (particularly western nations) fallen upon Brazil?
The man himself
Jair Messias Bolsonaro born in 1955 is a politician and former military officer. Overtly conservative and controversial, Bolsonaro has drawn both criticism and praise nationally and internationally.
As a campaign, he promoted pro-market and liberal economic policy which would allow individuals more say in decisions rather than having them made by the government and other organisations. As well as calling for greater relationships with the United States and Israel.
However, Bolsonaro has not escaped controversy. In the #MeToo era Bolsonaro once told congresswomen Maria do Rosario “I wouldn’t rape you because you don’t deserve it,” going on to call her ugly. Bolsonaro has also made controversial negative comments regarding homosexuality (which is now accepted in over 70 countries worldwide), as well as both the treatment of political opponents and suspected criminals.
Brazil recently endured an economic crisis from 2014 to 2016 which resulted in the loss of 72,000 truckers’ jobs and the impeachment of their president at the time. Since then Brazil has struggled with petrol shortages having a domino effect upon the production and exports industries.
This has left a stain of political mistrust within Brazil, visible as the out-going Brazilian president (Michel Temer) produced an approval rating of 5%.
To a country emerging from crisis, national-minded Bolsonaro may appear as a light in the darkness.
The Western world
The 2018 Brazilian election and Bolsonaro as a candidate have not escaped the eye of the western world. His ideology and behaviour have drawn comparisons to United States President, Donald Trump, labels of ‘far-right’ given, and fears of fascism voiced.
For the Western world, the election of Jair Bolsonaro may develop feelings of fear and uncertainty for the future as right-wing ideology and conservatism appears to be on the rise in western nations. However, in contrast, over 50% of Brazil hopes that Jair Bolsonaro will lead them out of the lingering uncertainty and crisis.
Image labeled for reuse from Wikimedia Commons