Rightwing frontrunner Bolsonaro recovering in hospital from what son says was 12cm wound and could take weeks to recover
The most acrimonious and unpredictable presidential election campaign in Brazil’s recent history has plummeted into fresh turmoil after a leading candidate was stabbed while campaigning.
Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right lawmaker and retired army officer, was recovering from surgery in a hospital in So Paulo on Friday morning after he was transferred from the town of Juiz de Fora, where he was stabbed during a campaign event the previous afternoon.
The suspect was arrested within moments of the attack, and told police that he was on a mission from God.
Doctors said Bolsonaro will spend at least a week in hospital and could take weeks to recover from life-threatening injuries.
The election’s first round is to take place on 7 October.
We have gone into a very insecure environment, said Carlos Melo, a professor of political science at So Paulo business school Insper. If the country was already mired in dismay, it just got worse.
Amid record levels of violence and a string of corruption scandals which have ensnared scores of politicians, Bolsonaros hard line on crime, his attacks on the left and his praise for Brazils brutal 1964-85 military dictatorship have chimed with conservative voters.
Tapping into concerns over violence, Bolsonaro has called for looser gun laws, impunity for police who kill criminals and chemical castration for rapists.
But his extremist views and aggressive speeches frighten many Brazilians, and he faces trial before the supreme court for speech that prosecutors said incited hate and rape.
In a video recorded from his hospital bed and released on Friday, Bolsonaro thanked medical staff and described the attack. All of us have a mission here on earth, he said. I prepared myself for a moment like this, because you run risks.
Speaking with difficulty, Bolsonaro lamented missing Fridays Independence Day parade in Rio and quoted his campaign slogan: Brazil above everything and God above everyone.
Bolsonaro is currently polling second to Lula. But the former president is serving a 12-year sentence for corruption and money laundering and Brazils electoral court has ruled he cannot stand.
Lula is still appealing but his vice-presidential candidate Fernando Haddad, the former mayor of So Paulo, is expected to replace him imminently.
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