Brazil entered a new era yesterday after electing its next president, Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right congressman who vowed a fundamental change in direction for the giant Latin American country.
Markets reacted positively to the victory by the business-world favorite, who will take office on January 1. The Sao Paulo stock exchange’s main index was up 1.5 percent mid-morning, after adding 10 percent in a month as Bolsonaro surged in the polls.
The Brazilian real traded its strongest in six months against the dollar, before retreating slightly.
Bolsonaro, who openly admires Brazil’s former military dictatorship and shocked many with his derogatory remarks on women, gays and blacks, won 55 percent of the vote in a run-off election Sunday, more than 10 points ahead of leftist opponent Fernando Haddad.
Having channeled voters’ anger with corruption, crime and economic malaise, the man dubbed the “Tropical Trump” will now get down to work seeking to “change Brazil’s destiny”, the promise he made in his victory speech.
After a deeply polarizing election, many Brazilians seem eager to turn the page, hoping for the best.
Bolsonaro, 63, received congratulations from world leaders, though some urged him to “respect democratic principles,” as French President Emmanuel Macron put it.
Opponents have warned Bolsonaro could try to veer toward authoritarianism, after the former army captain openly expressed his admiration for Brazil’s brutal military dictatorship (1964-1985) and its torture of leftist dissidents