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7:00, 30 October 2018

Brazil Election: How Jair Bolsonaro Turned Crisis Into Chance

Brazil Election: How Jair Bolsonaro Turned Crisis Into Opportunity

Brazil Election: How Jair Bolsonaro Turned Crisis Into Opportunity

Jair Bolsonaro speaking to supporters on Sunday in a televised address from his house in Rio de Janeiro following he was declared the winner of the presidential runoff.CreditCreditLeo Correa/Connected Press

By Ernesto Londo&ntildeo and Manuela Andreoni

Leer en espa&ntildeol

RIO DE JANEIRO &mdash Had the blade slashed a bit much more of Jair Bolsonaro&rsquos abdomen, the evangelical preacher who came to see him in the hospital may have had to prepare a eulogy about his buddy&rsquos presidential hopes being dashed by the exact same plague of violence that fueled his stunning rise.

As an alternative, when he saw Mr. Bolsonaro in intensive care final month, the preacher, Silas Malafaia, who is enormously popular in Brazil, saw match to crack a joke.

&ldquoLook what God did!&rdquo Mr. Malafaia recalls telling the candidate, who was dazed after undergoing numerous procedures to stitch up his intestinal tract and other organs. &ldquoYou had been stabbed, and now all the other candidates are complaining about all the television coverage you&rsquore getting.&rdquo

Prior to the knife attack last month, Mr. Bolsonaro had currently begun to look like an indomitable phenomenon in Brazilian politics, campaigning in angry outbursts against corruption and violence that largely matched the national mood.

But far from blunting his rise, the near-fatal stabbing crystallized Mr. Bolsonaro&rsquos conviction that only he could straighten out a country reeling from years of economic problems, corruption scandals and a record-high wave of bloodshed, the pastor stated.

&ldquoI feel it gave him a higher sense of purpose,&rdquo Mr. Malafaia mentioned. &ldquoHe stated, &lsquoMore than ever, my will to help these men and women, to rescue our nation, has improved.&rsquo&rdquo


Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil&rsquos newly elected president, is identified for his offensive remarks about ladies, but his difficult-line agenda on crime has spurred several to vote for him. We heard from women on both sides.Published OnCreditCreditLeo Correa/Linked Press

Soldiers on patrol in Rio de Janeiro last year.CreditDado Galdieri for The New York Occasions

Whilst his rivals ran conventional campaigns, Mr. Bolsonaro, 63, channeled the wrath and exasperation numerous Brazilians really feel over increasing crime and unemployment &mdash issues that they increasingly believe the endemically corrupt governing class is powerless to tackle.


Federal police officers use a metal detector to search voters, prior to getting into the polling station in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.CreditMauro Pimentel/Agence France-Presse &mdash Getty Pictures

He was briefly jailed right after publishing the post, and quickly came beneath investigation over a far more critical allegation: that he was part of a plan to set off explosives in military bases as a signifies to stress government officials to pay soldiers much more. Mr. Bolsonaro has denied he participated in such a plot, which was not carried out.


Mr. Bolsonaro posing for photographs with members of the military in S&atildeo Paulo in May.CreditNelson Almeida/Agence France-Presse &mdash Getty Pictures

Mr. Bolsonaro was hugely visible and regularly brash as a lawmaker in Bras&iacutelia. But he was not prolific at passing laws. And he was not regarded as a consensus-builder in a hugely fractured Congress.

Only two of the dozens of bills and amendments he introduced over 27 years in Congress became law. The legislation he championed showed that he was most passionate about supporting the police and the armed forces, and weighing in on social problems like abortion and gay rights, which he has adamantly opposed.

In 2011, he told Playboy magazine that he would &ldquorather his son die in a automobile accident&rdquo than be gay.

&ldquoIf a gay couple came to live in my developing, my home will drop value,&rdquo he added. &ldquoIf they stroll around holding hands, kissing, it will drop worth! No one says that out of worry of being pinned as homophobe.&rdquo

Chico Alencar, a member of Congress who has followed Mr. Bolsonaro&rsquos career because the two became city lawmakers in Rio de Janeiro at the exact same time, mentioned Mr. Bolsonaro was seen as an outlier who focused zealously on a handful of troubles, including communism and homosexuality.

&ldquoI have in no way observed him participating in debates about the electrical energy grid, the atmosphere, education, well being, urban mobility, housing,&rdquo said Mr. Alencar, who belongs to the liberal Socialism and Liberty Party. &ldquoHe&rsquos mono-thematic. Every thing is about a communist threat. He hasn&rsquot left the Cold War era but.&rdquo

Mr. Alencar recalled how Mr. Bolsonaro took aim at educational supplies in 2011 that sought to raise awareness about homophobia and denounced them as an incitement for youngsters to turn out to be sexually active and question their gender identities.


Performers on stilts at a Gay Pride Parade in Copacabana last month.CreditMaria Magdalena Arrellaga for The New York Occasions

&ldquoHe is obsessed with the problem of homosexuality,&rdquo Mr. Alencar mentioned. &ldquoWhenever there was a public hearing about gay rights, he would go, and get really worked up.&rdquo

Mr. Bolsonaro&rsquos conservative views on issues like gay rights and abortion have endeared him to some in Brazil&rsquos evangelical caucus, which has grown steadily in current years.

But he mainly became identified for his angry outbursts, possibly most notably in 2003, when he shoved a leftist colleague, Maria do Ros&aacuterio Nunes, on camera following telling her she was not worthy of becoming raped.

Now Ms. Nunes, a former human rights minister, mentioned she fears that Mr. Bolsonaro &mdash who has threatened to banish political opponents and make it less difficult for the police to kill suspected criminals &mdash will be a ruthless leader.

&ldquoHe is incapable of creating a consensus, an agreement,&rdquo she stated. &ldquoThere is no dialogue with him.&rdquo

In early 2013, Mr. Bolsonaro began confiding in a handful of close friends that he harbored presidential ambitions.


Mr. Bolsonaro speaking to the press throughout a go to to the Federal Police station in Rio de Janeiro this month.CreditCarl De Souza/Agence France-Presse &mdash Getty Photos

&ldquoMan, you&rsquore crazy,&rdquo Mr. Malafaia remembers saying when Mr. Bolsonaro broke the news to him moments ahead of the pastor officiated at Mr. Bolsonaro&rsquos third marriage, in March 2013. &ldquoI didn&rsquot believe it.&rdquo

Mr. Malafaia mentioned Mr. Bolsonaro told him he wanted to fight &ldquothe criminals from the left,&rdquo referring to the Workers&rsquo Party, which was in power at the time.

In the following months, as hundreds of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets to protest poor public services and corruption, Mr. Bolsonaro ran the concept by a trusted colleague in Congress.

&ldquoWhy don&rsquot you aim for the Senate?&rdquo Alberto Fraga, a fellow congressman who knew Mr. Bolsonaro from their days at the military academy, recalled responding with bewilderment.

Mr. Fraga recounted that Mr. Bolsonaro acknowledged facing extended odds.

&ldquo&lsquoLook, if I get to 10 %, I&rsquod be very happy,&rsquo&rdquo Mr. Fraga recalled his saying.

In 2014, right after Mr. Bolsonaro was re-elected to Congress with 464,000 votes, practically four occasions much more than he got in 2010, he started traveling the nation, holding rallies and presenting himself as a challenging-speaking disrupter of politics as usual.


Mr. Bolsonaro&rsquos supporters celebrating his victory in S&atildeo Paulo, Brazil, on Sunday. He is farther to the proper than any president in Latin America.CreditFernando Bizerra/EPA, by way of Shutterstock

Breaking with the political playbook for presidential hopefuls, Mr. Bolsonaro frequently utilised curse words in the course of unscripted addresses. Hand-pistol signs became ubiquitous everywhere he went &mdash an allusion to the candidate&rsquos draconian proposals to curb violent crime by generating it easier for the police to gun down suspected criminals. Soon, supporters started calling him &ldquomito,&rdquo or the legend.

Supporters began employing yellow T-shirts with the slogan &ldquoBrazil is my party&rdquo that resemble the soccer jerseys Brazilians have worn in the previous as a symbol of pride and national unity.

Many seasoned politicians and analysts anticipated Mr. Bolsonaro&rsquos candidacy to fizzle as voters took a harder appear at his extended history of incendiary remarks against women and individuals of color.

But what a lot of assumed would be a liability turned out to be an asset for an electorate fed up with a governing class broadly regarded as duplicitous and dishonest, stated Joice Hasselmann, who was elected to Congress this month by tying her candidacy to Mr. Bolsonaro&rsquos.

&ldquoJair has no filter,&rdquo Ms. Hasselmann mentioned. &ldquoThere&rsquos a direct hyperlink in between what he thinks and what he says.&rdquo

Right after the stabbing, Mr. Bolsonaro remained largely confined to a hospital room and later his beachfront house in Rio. He has carried out couple of probing interviews and declined to take component in debates.

But in the close to-day-to-day videos he has broadcast on Facebook, exactly where he has more than eight million followers, Mr. Bolsonaro, frequently accompanied by a single of his sons, holds forth, jumping from one concern to the next, often toggling amongst agitation and sarcasm.

Throughout a current one particular, he lifted his shirt to show his colostomy bag and a huge scar from the stabbing.

As his standing in the polls rose, veteran Brazilian political operators marveled at how a campaign strategy that seemed so haphazard was beating absolutely everyone else&rsquos. If it looked messy and improvisational from the outside, Mr. Malafaia mentioned, it&rsquos because it was.

&ldquoLook, I&rsquom going to say some thing, and you can laugh,&rdquo Mr. Malafaia said, adding that Mr. Bolsonaro and his campaign &ldquohad no genuine strategy.&rdquo

Connected Coverage

Brazil&rsquos Polarizing New President, Jair Bolsonaro, in His Own Words


Jair Bolsonaro Wins Brazil&rsquos Presidency, in a Shift to the Far Proper


Brazil&rsquos Markets Have Surged on Hope of Bolsonaro Victory. Can He Provide?


Published at Mon, 29 Oct 2018 15:44:12 +0000

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