Newly sworn in Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro and his wife | Reuters
Brazil‘s newly inaugurated President Jair Bolsonaro said on Tuesday (January 01) that he would “restore order,” and he vowed to tackle corruption, crime and economic mismanagement in Latin America’s largest nation.
Bolsonaro, a former army captain turned lawmaker who openly admires Brazil‘s 1964-1985 military dictatorship, promised in his first remarks as president to adhere to democratic norms, after his tirades against the media and political opponents had stirred unease.
A seven-term congressman who spent decades on the fringes of Brazilian politics, Bolsonaro was swept to power in October by voters’ outrage with traditional political parties, making him Brazil‘s first right-wing president since the dictatorship.
Voters punished mainstream parties following more than four years of graft investigations that laid bare the largest political corruption scheme ever discovered. Centrist parties were trounced, reshaping Brazil‘s political landscape and polarising Congress.
Following a knife attack during the presidential campaign that left Bolsonaro hospitalized for weeks, security was tight for his inauguration. Some 10,000 police officers and soldiers were deployed on the streets of Brasilia, the capital, as Bolsonaro and his wife rode in an open-topped Rolls-Royce to Congress.
His voters are now impatient for Bolsonaro to make good on ambitious promises to tackle graft and violent crime and revive an economy still sputtering after the collapse of a commodities boom led to Brazil‘s worst recession on record.
As thousands of supporters, many with the Brazilian flag draped around their shoulders, chanted “the captain has arrived!,” Bolsonaro launched into a fiery speech.
“We are aware of this awesome responsibility and the challenges that we will face. We know where we want to go and the potential that Brazilhas,” he said. — Reuters