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Brazil Votes for Radical Change

Far-right congressman Bolsonaro elected president
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 29, 2018 12:39 AM CDT
Supporters of Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro cheer as they gather outside his residence to wait for election runoff results, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018.   (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
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(Newser) – Jair Bolsonaro, a brash far-right congressman who has waxed nostalgic for Brazil's old military dictatorship, won the presidency of Latin America's largest nation Sunday as voters looked past warnings that he would erode democracy and embraced a chance for radical change after years of turmoil. The former army captain, who cast himself as a political outsider despite a 27-year career in Congress, became the latest world leader to rise to power by mixing tough, often violent talk with hard-right positions, the AP reports. His victory reflected widespread anger at the political class after years of corruption, an economy that has struggled to recover after a punishing recession, and a surge in violence.

Speaking to supporters from his home in Rio, Bolsonaro recounted how he was stabbed while campaigning last month and almost died. "I was never alone. I always felt the presence of God and the force of the Brazilian people," he said. Bolsonaro, who ran on promises to clean up Brazil and bring back "traditional values," said he would respect the constitution and personal liberty. His rival, Fernando Haddad of the Workers' Party, did not concede or even mention Bolsonaro by name. Instead, his speech was a promise to resist. "Brazil has never needed the exercise of citizenship more than right now," he said. "Don't be afraid. We are here. We are together!" Brazil's top electoral court said Bolsonaro won with just over 55% of the vote, compared with just under 45% for Haddad.

(Read more Jair Bolsonaro stories.)

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