Why the West fears Bolsonaro could ignore Brazil election result

World Affairs Editor Kim Sengupta on widespread concern that Brazil’s president might cling to power and trigger a violent confrontation

Saturday 01 October 2022 22:46 BST
Jair Bolsonaro at a campaign rally in Santos on Wednesday
Jair Bolsonaro at a campaign rally in Santos on Wednesday (Reuters)

To roars of approval from whipped-up followers, Jair Bolsonaro declared at a campaign rally: “This will end one of three ways, prison, victory or death – and I will not go to prison.”

Victory appears to be slipping from him as Brazil draws closer to election day.  But behind the bombast, the hard-right president still has the power to unleash destructive forces that could seriously imperil the democratic future of South America’s largest nation.

Bolsanaro is trailing by as much as 17 percentage points behind rival candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in opinion polls. It means the leftist former president, more widely known as Lula, may win outright on Sunday by securing over 50 per cent of votes, avoiding the need for a second round on 30 October.

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