Brazil’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal has declared far-right congressman Jair Bolsonaro the next president of Latin America’s biggest country.
With 96 percent of ballots counted, Bolsonaro has 55.5 percent of the votes. Leftist Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party (PT) has 44.5 percent.
Voters in Sunday’s runoff election apparently looked past warnings that the brash former army captain would erode democracy and embraced a chance for radical change after years of turmoil.
Bolsonaro pledged to reform government finances and reorient diplomatic relations in his first public comments on Sunday after winning the polarizing run-off vote.
Bolsonaro said he would begin a virtuous cycle of lower deficits, shrinking public debts and lower interest rates. He also pledged to align Brazil with more advanced countries that can offer the benefits of trade and technology, reversing what he called a recent political bias in diplomatic relations.
His rise has been propelled by rejection of the leftist PT that ran Brazil for 13 of the last 15 years and was ousted two years ago in the midst of a deep recession and political graft scandal.
Laura Chinchilla, the former president of Costa Rica who is head of the Organization of American States’ Electoral Observation Mission, said the vote had been calm and orderly across the country, which has suffered a spate of partisan violence during the campaign.