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Far-Right Candidate Wins Brazil's Presidential Election
Far-right congressman Jair Bolsonaro has won Brazil's presidential election. With nearly all of the ballots counted, Bolsonaro of the Social Liberal Party won about 56 percent of the votes in Sunday's runoff. His left-leaning opponent, Fernando Haddad of the Workers Party, took 44 percent.
Bolsonaro is a former army captain whose far-right rhetoric and promises, and feisty personality earned him the nickname of "Tropical Trump."
President Donald Trump said Monday he had a "very good conversation with the newly election president," and that the two agreed the U.S. and Brazil will work closely together on "Trade, Military and everything else!"
Like the U.S. president, he likes to paint himself as an anti-establishment outsider. But Bolsonaro spent 27 years in the Brazilian congress.
His win is a voter rejection of the leftist administrations that have governed Brazil for most of the last 15 years. Latin America's largest economy has been stuck in recession since 2014. The political establishment has been rocked by a high-level corruption scandal, and crime and murder rates have spiked.
Bolsonaro campaigned for change, describing himself as a law and order candidate who will give police more freedom to crack down on crime.
But many Brazilians are disturbed by his professed admiration of the 1964-1985 military dictatorship, and for offensive comments about gays, blacks, and women.
They fear a Bolsonaro government will trample on human rights, civil liberties, and free speech -- especially by leftists.
Brazil's government was a military dictatorship from 1964 until the establishment of democracy in 1985. During that period, the military was accused of executing and torturing opponents, and stifling dissent in the name of preventing the spread of communism.
Many business people support Bolsonaro's free market economic positions, which would stimulate growth by privatizing state-owned enterprises, reduce regulations, and making it easier for foreign investors to enter the Brazilian market.
Christian evangelicals also support Bolsonaro's promise to end sex education in the schools, keep abortion illegal, and end same-sex marriage.