Brazil enters new era with far-right Bolsonaro

BRASÍLIA – Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right politician vowing a crackdown on crime and corruption, was sworn in Tuesday as Brazil’s new president in front of Congress in Brasilia.

The 63-year-old former paratrooper and deputy for the past 27 years pledged to uphold the constitution as he embarked on his four-year mandate at the helm of Latin America’s biggest economy.

Bolsonaro takes power with sky-high approval ratings and high hopes from many of Brazil’s 210 million inhabitants that he can stamp out graft, reduce rampant crime and re-ignite an economy laid low by a record-breaking recession.

“I will bring in politics completely different from that which brought corruption and inefficiency to Brazil,” he said late Monday in an interview with Record TV.

He has already said he will issue a decree easing gun laws to allow “good” citizens to own firearms as a way of deterring and countering armed criminals.

And he has vowed to challenge the leftist governments ruling Venezuela and Cuba, while moving closer to ideological allies US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Bolsonaro comfortably won an October election against Fernando Haddad, a candidate from the leftwing Workers Party that was in power between 2003 and 2016 but is now reviled after a series of graft scandals.

The Workers Party icon, former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, is serving prison time for corruption. And his chosen successor Dilma Rousseff was impeached for cooking the government’s books.

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