Financial TimesFinancial Times

How Bolsonaro built a rightwing movement bigger than his presidency

By Michael Stott and Bryan Harris

26 Oct 2022 · 10 min read

Brazil's next President will be decided this Sunday. While Lula has an edge, incumbent Jair Bolsanaro is closing the gap. FT analyses how religion could be one of the major deciders of the winner.

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The words of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah rang out across the crowd at the election rally, amplified by a huge loudspeaker array: “Those who strive against you shall be as nothing and perish . . . For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand . . . Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

The evangelical pastor on stage at the showground in Montes Claros finished his Bible reading. To roars of approval from thousands of supporters dressed almost entirely in Brazil’s national colours of green and yellow, he presented the holy book to the man to whom the reading was dedicated: President Jair Bolsonaro.

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