Jair Bolsonaro Fast Facts
President Jair Bolsonaro (PSL) on Wednesday formally presented his presidential candidacy with a victory speech, saying the country needed “change,” a change he said would not come from any other party. On Monday, his longshot bid for a first-round victory with less than 3% had all but crumbled when his two largest opponents announced the withdrawal of their presidential bids. The only remaining candidate was Fernando Haddad, former mayor of the capital, who dropped out last week to rally votes against Bolsonaro. The former army captain’s withdrawal, however, leaves Bolsonaro as the sole candidate standing in the race, and with the backing of about 75 percent of Brazilians.
Bolsonaro came to power one year ago on a wave of anger over Brazil’s economic woes and mass corruption. Bolsonaro, an ophthalmologist who became the new president at a time when many Brazilians were fed up with the political class, promised to fight corruption and take on Brazil’s endemic corruption problem.
The president’s rhetoric often sounded like what would have happened in the “real” Russia: The anti-corruption protests in 2011 were replaced by a strongman who promised to bring back the “good old days,” but who has quickly turned his attention to political opponents, who he has blamed for the country’s economic woes. Bolsonaro’s goal is to “transform” Brazil into a less corrupt country by the way of a tough, but non-confrontational approach to law enforcement.
Bolsonaro’s opponents have countered his message by arguing that any change must come from the people. A large part of the criticism of Bolsonaro has come from his supporters, who question his inexperience and his ties to far-right groups over the past few decades.
Bolsonaro’s position on immigration issues, however, has been a common theme of his campaign. In the past several months, he has taken a somewhat hard-line stance on immigrant populations, saying that he will not accept immigrants in large numbers, claiming that some immigrants come to Brazil, live in a community for generations, and