Jair Bolsonaro 'will not moderate rhetoric' in push for Brazil presidency


Former Army captain Mr. Bolsonaro ended up with 47 percent of valid votes, three points shy of the overall majority he would have needed to be victorious in the first round.

Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index .BVSP jumped 4.0 percent on Monday, led by double-digit gains in state-led oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4.SA) and state power companies which Bolsonaro advisers have said they will privatise.

Brazil's presidential candidate for the Workers' Party (PT), Fernando Haddad and the vice-president candidate Manuela D'Avila hold their hands up after the first round of the general elections at a hotel, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on October 7, 2018.

Markets have cheered Bolsonaro's advance toward the presidency since his recent conversion to free-market ideas under the tutelage of University of Chicago-trained economist Paulo Guedes. "Regardless of party, that provides hope", said Pablo Syper, head of trading at Mirae Asset Global Investments.

"When you go to the second round with a huge spread between you and the runner-up, and you are already very close to that 50-percent-plus-one, you're at peace", said Alexandre Bandeira, a political strategist in Brasilia.

"In the past few weeks every sort of attack against Bolsonaro was made and the only result was his growth", he said.

Now, with 99 percent of the votes counted, Bolsonaro and Fernando Haddad of the Workers' Party will head to runoff elections on October 28.

Some voters - particularly women - wore "Not Him" slogans to polling stations, declaring their fierce opposition to Bolsonaro.

The Workers' Party was at the centre of that investigation, and it has struggled to stage a comeback with Mr Haddad.

Haddad secured 29% of votes in the first round.

"Haddad's chance of victory depends much more on the performance of Bolsonaro than his own".

Allies recognised the uphill battle he faces. "He better be, because just us isn't enough", joked Gilberto Carvalho, a former PT minister and senior party member.

Brazil's next Congress was also elected on Sunday, and in a seismic shift, Bolsonaro's once-tiny Social Liberal Party (PSL) was poised to become the second-largest force in the body.

Still, Brazil is split over the danger to democracy posed by Bolsonaro, a long-time congressman who advocates for torture and police violence, praises the country's 1964-85 military regime and suggested that opponents could only win the race through fraud, although he now vows to respect the electoral process.

His ultraconservative Social Liberal Party, which had just eight deputies in the 513-seat outgoing lower house picked up dozens more seats in Sunday's vote and will have 52 in the new chamber.

But countering Bolsonaro's narrative won't be easy, and could even prove counterproductive, Aragao said. They sent precisely the two candidates who most polarize the population to a runoff election, thus aggravating the country's problems still further. "We received a lot of criticism from electronic voting booths, some people voted for governor and closed the vote, others pressed the 1 and appeared the candidate of the left [Haddad]", said Bolsonaro.

Despite his complaints, Bolsonaro did not formally contest Sunday's result, saying his voters "remain mobilized" for the second round.