Brazil Voters Buck Status Quo With Rise of Right-Wing Firebrand

By Anonymous

Jair Bolsonaro, an ex-army captain who has waxed nostalgic about the dictatorship he served, is on the verge of winning the presidency

Paratrooper-turned-politician Jair Bolsonaro won the first round of Brazil's election. His statements on dictatorship, torture, women and gay people make him a divisive candidate for the presidency. Photo: Getty


Samantha Pearson and

Luciana Magalhaes

SÃO PAULO—For years Jair Bolsonaro was a bizarre sideshow in Brazilian politics—an outlandish ex-army captain who waxed nostalgic about the dictatorship he served and only got one bill enacted in nearly three decades as a congressman.

Now, the 63-year-old stands on the verge of winning Brazil’s presidency, after taking 46% of Sunday’s first-round vote in a crowded field, some 17 percentage points ahead of the second-place finisher and his rival in an Oct. 28 runoff, leftist Fernando Haddad.