With 97 percent of votes counted on Sunday evening, Jair Bolsonaro is the projected winner of Brazil’s presidential runoff, capturing 55 percent of the vote.
Bolsonaro campaigned on a law-and-order platform combined with pro-business promises of economic rejuvenation. His opponent, Fernando Haddad of the left-wing Workers Party, was a last-minute stand-in for former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was barred from running because he is currently serving a twelve-year sentence for corruption charges.
Bolsonaro is also, however, a fan of Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship, with a startling variety of misogynist and homophobic remarks in his history. Many have compared him to President Trump, although Trump has never come close to Bolsonaro’s consistent praise of violence. As The New Republic has previously detailed:
While casting his vote in favor of Rousseff’s impeachment in 2016, Bolsonaro dedicated it to the memory of Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, a notorious torturer who died the year before without ever having to answer for crimes he committed as an agent of the dictatorship. In twenty-seven years in Congress, Bolsonaro has faulted the dictatorship for not killing enough people during its two decades in power, suggesting there should have been at least 30,000 casualties instead of several hundred. He has argued that parents can and should beat homosexuality out of their children at an early age. He told a female member of Congress that he would never rape her because she did not deserve it. As a presidential candidate, he has called for widespread chemical castration of accused sexual offenders and argued that the discourse of human rights has done a “disservice” to Brazil. He has also declared that he will not accept the results of the election unless he wins, setting the stage for a potential constitutional crisis.
Economic stagnation and the Workers Party’s corruption scandals seem to have played into voters’ enthusiasm for a new sort of candidate. In the final weeks, there were also accusations that private companies had illegally spent millions of dollars in pro-Bolsonaro social media outreach.
The international implications of the victory are potentially massive, and not just because Brazil is the most populous country and largest economy in South America. Bolsonaro has also pledged to withdraw Brazil from the Paris climate agreement and accelerate development in the Amazon rainforest—one of the world’s biggest carbon-absorbing resources.