What Bolsonaro Wants for Brazil and How He Will Try to Get It

Nov 1, 2018 | 11:30 GMT

Brazilian supporters of populist candidate Jair Bolsonaro celebrate his presidential victory on Oct. 28.

Supporters of presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro celebrate in front of his house in Rio de Janeiro after he won Brazil's presidency on Oct. 28. Bolsonaro defeated Fernando Haddad in a runoff election.

(BUDA MENDES/Getty Images)


  • Once he takes office on Jan. 1, Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro will try to fulfill his campaign promises on crime and economic growth by tightening domestic security and increasing Brazil's trade prospects through amendments to its customs union charter.
  • Bolsonaro eventually could also apply greater scrutiny to Chinese investment in Brazil and leave the door open to limited military action against Venezuela.
  • Bolsonaro faces a potentially bumpy road ahead. Applying more scrutiny to Chinese investments could run into resistance from Brazil's private sector, and amending the customs union charter of the Common Market of the South would require careful negotiations with Argentina — the nation most likely to object.

During the two months before Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro takes office on Jan. 1, he will begin to fill in the details of a busy agenda that is shaping up to be a politically controversial one. Bolsonaro, who ran on a law-and-order political platform, wooed Brazilian voters weary of years of economic decline, growing crime and corruption scandals reaching the top echelons of government with promises to create stability and economic growth. While his policies to fight corruption are still works in progress, they likely will form a centerpiece of his presidency. Also at the top of his priority list will be satisfying voter demands for greater economic growth. To address those concerns, Bolsonaro will try to loosen regional trade regulations. Driven by his own ideology and the rising trade confrontation between the United States and China, Bolsonaro is likely to cast a more skeptical eye on Chinese investments in...

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