Brazil’s newly inaugurated President Jair Bolsonaro has his work cut out for him. If he can follow through on even half his election promises, he’s likely to go down as one of the nation’s most successful politicians.
Bolsonaro says his election has freed the country from ‘socialism and political correctness’. Now, he’s vowing to take on crime, corruption and economic mismanagement.
A former army captain, Bolsonaro is known for admiring Brazil’s 1964–85 military dictatorship. After the lawmakers diatribes against the media and political opponents caused uneasiness, he has promised in his first comments as president that he will adhere to democratic norms, RAW reports.
Investors are optimistic that the new president’s free-market stance will bolster Brazil’s economy. However, environmentalist and rights groups are concerned that Bolsonaro will remove protections for the Amazon rain forest, as well as introduce lax gun control, this concerns them as Brazil has the highest murder numbers in the world.
In an address on Tuesday where he donned the presidential sash, the 63-year-old said that: ‘This is the beginning of Brazil’s liberation from socialism, political correctness and a bloated state’.
Bolsonaro is Brazil’s first right-wing president
Bolsonaro won the presidential election in October last year, and is now Brazil’s first right-wing president since the nation was under dictatorship.
Unsurprisingly, his inauguration called for tight security.
Roughly 10,000 soldiers and police officers were positioned across the streets of the capital, Brasilia. Bolsonaro and his wife arrive to Congress in an open-topped Rolls-Royce.
Those that voted Bolsonaro into office are hoping that the president keeps his promise to take on graft and violent crime. On top of that, voters also hope he can recover the economy, which is struggling after the commodities boom collapse caused Brazil’s worst ever recession on record.
According to RAW, the new president has promised to open foreign markets for Brazil, as well as legislate reforms in an effort to reduce budget deficit. This will aim to put government accounts on a maintainable road.
He also plans to restore Brazil internationally, hoping to realign the nation closer to Western leaders and policies, particularly US President Donald Trump, thus moving away from developing-nations allies.
To strengthen his commitment to a diplomatic shift, Bolsonaro is planning to move the Brazilian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, just like the US. This move would break with Brazil’s traditional support of a two-state solution in regards to Israel and Palestine, according to RAW.
Bolsonaro is backed heavily by conservative areas of Brazil, which includes Christian evangelical churches, and would rid public schools of sex education and stop moves to legalise abortion beyond the exceptions currently in place.
Many voters have resonated with the presidents law-and-order rhetoric, and his promise to ease gun control, this is especially prevalent in Brazil’s growing farm country.
But environmentalists are worried, as Bolsonaro has vowed to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement.
According to RAW, ‘his plans to build hydro-electric dams in the Amazon and open up to mining the reservations of indigenous peoples who are seen as the last custodians of the world’s biggest forest’, also has environmentalists worried.
Brazilian businesses are keen to see Bolsonaro take office. They want to see him put together a team of ‘orthodox’ economists led by investment banker Paulo Guedes, RAW reports. He vows to take quick action and get the country’s unmanageable budget deficit under control.
Selling as many state companies as possible is also part of Guedes’ plan.
Brazil’s social security system is a costly one, so reigning it in will be a key part in decreasing the deficit as well as putting a stop to a concerning rise in public debt.
PS: Tired of paying more tax, year after year and decade after decade? Find out what you could do to help stop Australia’s already-crushing tax burden blowing out even further this year. Click here to download our latest research report free.