Despite a huge push from, amongst others, the LGBT+ community and its supporters, the controversial far-right candidate, Jair Bolsonaro of the Social Liberal Party, has won the first round of the campaign to become Brazil’s president.
The notoriously homophobic Bolsonaro came up just short of the 50 per cent of all votes needed to win the campaign outright, but still enters the second round with a huge margin. He will now face off with left-wing candidate, Fernando Haddid of the Worker’s Party, for the position, his 46 per cent of the total vote standing in contrast to Haddid’s 29 per cent.
Described as the Brazilian Trump with his calls to make Brazil great again, Bolsonaro is riding a wave of public anger against the Worker’s Party for a prolonged recession and rising crime rates. The SLP was previously thought of as a relatively insignificant group but are now poised to become the most powerful senate group, a move which would see the Brazilian political landscape undergo huge changes.
The candidate’s success does not bode well for LGBT+ people, minorities, women, or those of a more liberal leaning. Bolsonaro wants to relax gun laws and bring back the death penalty. He has already spoken in favour of previous dictatorial regimes, along with their use of torture as a legitimate practice. Discussing dictatorship, he said its error had been “to torture and not to kill”.
He is referred to as Trump-like also for his habit of incoherent speeches which are light on facts but heavy on attack and anger. In congress, he told a female politician “I would never rape you because you do not deserve it,” a threat he has repeated more than once.
With such extreme actions on record, his views on LGBT+ people are not surprising. In a past interview, he said he “would not be able to love a gay son. I would rather he die in an accident”, and also said “If I see two men kissing in the street, I will hit them.”
It seems the only hope for a more progressive Brazil hoping to keep him out of power would be a coalition of every other candidate working together, sometimes against their own parties interests, to keep his out. Time will tell if that proves likely.
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