Photo credit: Janine Moraes / Brazilian Chamber of Deputies

New Far-Right Turn for Brazil as Jair Bolsonaro Elected

On 28th October Jair Bolsonaro was elected in the Brazilian ballotage for presidency with more than 55% of the total votes, winning in 16 of the 27 states. After several impeachments, political corruption revelations and imprisonments of political leaders, there has been massive dissatisfaction with the leftist political culture that has been in crescendo. Bolsonaro’s win can be considered the most dramatic turn towards far right in the continent since the military dictatorship’s era.

Photo credit: Janine Moraes / Brazilian Chamber of Deputies

The newly elected president is an ex-soldier who dedicated 17 years of his life to the army. After this, he entered politics and became a member of the Chamber of Deputies in 1991. His military upbringing certainly shapes his frame of mind, as he places hierarchy and discipline above other morals. Many of his declarations throughout the recent political campaign invoke armed forces to be the source of control in desperate times, as well as to ensure the constitution is respected.

Bolsonaro does not fall short of controversies. Impact on the economy are expected to be severe due to his ideas regarding the establishment of targets for the dollar, inflation and interest rates, to list a few. This has caused scepticism in the international economic sphere as a free-floating Real (the Brazilian currency) is considered to the one of the causes of Brazil’s stability, as it is shock-absorbant. He plans to stop fiscal spending, giving autonomy to the central bank and allow petrol prices to follow market behaviour. Plans to drift away from the Mercosur have also been prowling, but nothing is concrete yet.

Bolsonaro also plans to add conservative social views to this economic setting.  His polemic declarations regarding characteristics such as gender, sexuality and race have been shared all over the internet and have set a fear of social backwardness within minority groups. Truth be told, not everything claimed during political campaigns translates into actions when a candidate is elected.  Speculation and uncertainty about how the biggest country is South America will proceed are at their highest; it also remains to be seen how neighbouring countries will react to this new government.

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