Power

Why business elites might regret helping Jair Bolsonaro

Supporters far-right Jair Bolsonaro celebrate his electoral win in Rio de Janeiro, in October 2018. Photo: The Conversation
Supporters far-right Jair Bolsonaro celebrate his electoral win in Rio de Janeiro, in October 2018. Photo: Ettore Chiereguini/Shutterstock

Brazil has just experienced one of its most important and divisive elections since the end of the country’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship. The first presidential election to be held since the 2016 impeachment of Dilma Rousseff took place against a backdrop of political and economic turmoil. And this proved to be fertile ground for the winner – the far-right, conservative populist, Jair Bolsonaro.

Much has been made of Mr. Bolsonaro’s Trump-like, anti-establishment rhetoric and flagrant disdain for minority rights, which struck a chord with a population increasingly disillusioned with politics. But Mr. Bolsonaro also won the backing of Brazil’s business elite, which has a long history of shaping...

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