In early September, Brazilian Presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro was stabbed in the abdomen in an assassination attempt.
At the time, he was polling with 22% of the vote. The attack helped to boost him in the polls, despite his hospitalization severely curtailing his ability to campaign.
On Sunday, he rode that poll boost to a strong showing in the Brazilian Presidential race, far outstripping his rivals but falling short of the requisite 50% for a win.
A poll on October 5 showed Bolsonaro with 39% of the vote and his main rival, Fernando Haddad, with 25%. The election results showed continued growth for both candidates, with Bolsonaro getting nearly 47% of the vote and Haddad getting just over 28%. The pair will be going to a runoff on October 28.
Bolsonaro’s presence has resulted in dramatic success for his anti-establishment party, as illustrated by Reuters:
Bolsonaro’s once-tiny Social Liberal Party (PSL) was poised to land 51 of the 513 seats in the lower house of Congress, according to projections by investment firm XP Investimentos, trailing only his rival Fernando Haddad’s leftist Workers Party (PT), which is expected to take 57 seats.
That would be explosive growth for a party with only eight lower house seats and no presence in the Senate before the vote.
A win by Bolsonaro would be considered a great boon to businesses and the general economic influences of Brazil, resulting in a market surge in Brazil-related stocks after the announcement of the first round results.
While Bolsonaro is for fiscal responsibility and market reforms, however, some of his positions are considered troubling for other world leaders. His anti-crime and anti-corruption platform includes not only expanding private gun usage (encouraging some supporters to use their guns to vote, as in the video below) but also calling for greatly loosening the restrictions on police violence. This has caused a greater concern after his statements earlier this year saying that the widespread torture and murder which occurred under the Brazilian dictatorship were mostly fabricated.
“There are certain types of people who aren’t humans – they should be treated as hoodlums and crooks,” he told reporters earlier this year.The Guardian
Bolsonaro has risen on a platform primarily focused on three things: economic reform in a country with massive resources and international influence but which is plagued by poverty; anti-crime action in a country with regular corruption scandals and one of the highest rates of murder and kidnapping in the world; and exclusionary and divisive rhetoric.
An example of some of the concerns on that last front can be found in the pages of the left-leaning Foreign Policy magazine:
He wants criminals to be summarily shot rather than face trial. He presents indigenous people as “parasites” and also advocates for discriminatory, eugenically devised forms of birth control. Bolsonaro has warned about the danger posed by refugees from Haiti, Africa, and the Middle East, calling them “the scum of humanity” and even argued that the army should take care of them.
He regularly makes racist and misogynistic statements. For example, he accused Afro-Brazilians of being obese and lazy and defended physically punishing children to try to prevent them from being gay. He has equated homosexuality with pedophilia and told a representative in the Brazilian National Congress, “I wouldn’t rape you because you do not deserve it.”
Bolsonaro is Brazil-first, for a very specific image of Brazil, and he has no significant history of being a fan or an opponent of the United States. He is an avowed fan of Donald Trump, however, and he is seeing significant success with the aid of his campaign advisor Steve Bannon.