Jair Bolsonaro: Trump and Macron congratulate Brazil's new far-right president on election victory

White House says US president expressed ‘strong commitment to work side-by-side’ with strongman

Adam Forrest
Monday 29 October 2018 12:54
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Jair Bolsonaro speaks after winning Brazil presidential elections

Donald Trump has pledged to work with Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right congressman who has been elected Brazil’s new president.

The White House said the president called the former army captain immediately after his victory on Sunday night.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Mr Trump congratulated the president-elect and that “both expressed a strong commitment to work side-by-side to improve the lives of the people of the United States and Brazil”.

French president Emmanuel Macron became the first European leader to offer congratulations to Brazil’s president-elect. The French far-right leader Marine Le Pen wished Mr Bolsonaro “good luck” on her official Twitter account.

China also pledged to cooperate with Mr Bolsonaro.

The presidential election winner, who took just over 55 per cent of the votes on Sunday, told his supporters about the call with Mr Trump, referring to him as “a very friendly contact”.

The Brazilian politician has been dubbed “Trump of the Tropics” for his extreme statements and authoritarian positions on law and order.

Referring to Mr Trump in a campaign interview in July, Mr Bolsonaro said: “Just like he wants to make America great, I want to make Brazil great.”

Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro celebrate in front of his residence in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

On Monday, Mr Macron said France wished to continue to co-operate with Brazil on a range of areas, including international security and climate change.

“France and Brazil have a strategic partnership based around common values of respect and the promotion of democratic principles,” said the French president.

China offered its congratulations despite the Brazilian politician’s criticisms of Beijing’s policies during his campaign.

In the run-up to the election, Mr Bolsonaro had portrayed China as a predator looking to dominate key sectors of its economy.

​Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said China is willing to continue deepening cooperation for the benefit of people in both countries.

“Developing China-Brazil relations is in fact the wide consensus of all sectors in both countries,” said Mr Lu.

Chinese diplomats based in Brasilia have met twice with top Bolsonaro advisors in recent weeks.

Their aim is to highlight cooperation with Latin America’s largest country, whose grain and minerals have helped fuel China’s rise.

Mr Bolsonaro’s friendly leanings towards Taiwan have been vexing to China, however. Beijing considers Taiwan a renegade province.

In February he became the first Brazilian presidential candidate to visit Taiwan since Brazil recognised the One China policy in the 1970s.

Additional reporting by agencies

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