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Brazil election: What are some of Jair Bolsonaro’s most controversial quotes?

The incumbent president has courted controversy over the years with offensive remarks aimed at the LGBTQ community, refugees and women.

Jair Bolsonaro’s most controversial quotes

Former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva triumphed in the closely-contested Brazilian presidential election. The winner, known most commonly as Lula, beat the far-right incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly hinted that he would not accept the result if he lost, has not yet officially conceded and has not made any public statement since the defeat was announced.

The silent approach is not one that comes naturally to Bolsonaro and his career in public life has been characterised by his outspoken nature. A far-right authoritarian, Bolsonaro has courted controversy by dismissing concerns of LGBTQ groups, women’s rights campaigners, and climate change activists.

As world leaders publicly congratulate Lula on his win, here’s some of his predecessor’s most controversial comments...

Bolsonaro on elections

Back in 1990 Bolsonaro was elected to Brazil’s Congress for the first time, despite having previously been accused of planning to plant bombs in military units. Despite being a vocal proponent of national conservatism, Bolsonaro has often cast doubt on the importance of elections.

In 1999, while a serving member of Congress, he said: “Elections won’t change anything in this country. It will only change on the day that we break out in civil war here and do the job that the military regime didn’t do: killing 30,000.”

More recently, he forwarded baseless claims of election fraud in what has been perceived as an attempt to challenge the result if he lost legitimately. Just last week he told reporters that the electoral process had been “unbalanced” to favour Lula, and insisted: “We will win these elections, despite the attempt to manipulate the result.”

Bolsonaro on women

The Brazilian President was formerly a lawmaker and member of the Social Liberal Party (PSL), and he was known for making offensive remarks in the chamber. In one exchange in Brazil’s lower house, he told Congresswoman Maria do Rosario: “I wouldn’t rape you because you don’t deserve it.”

In a newspaper interview he was asked about the remarks, Bolsonaro doubled down, saying Rosario was “not worth raping; she is very ugly.”

Bolsonaro on LGBTQ rights

In his career as a politician Bolsonaro has consistently opposed LGBTQ rights groups on equality issues and has made a number of offensive remarks.

He has previously admitted that he would be “incapable of loving a homosexual son,” adding that he would rather his son “died in an accident than showed up with some bloke with a moustache.”

Bolsonaro on immigration

During his successful 2018 presidential campaign, Bolsonaro positioned himself as the anti-immigration candidate and sought to mimic the rhetoric employed by President Trump that aided his run to the White House.

Bolsonaro, referring to Brazil’s refugee policy, said: “The scum of the earth is showing up in Brazil, as if we didn’t have enough problems of our own to sort out.”


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