Near-fatal stabbing of presidential front runner stuns Brazil

Brazil's presidential candidate Bolsonaro stabbed during campaign event

Brasilia, Sep 7 (IANS) Brazil's front-running far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro was stabbed during a rally while campaigning for next month's election.

Lt. Col. Marco Rodrigues of the Minas Gerais state police told reporters that de Oliveira, who was once affiliated with a leftist party, said he acted because he disagreed with Bolsonaro.

The only Brazilian politician now more popular is the leftist ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is in prison for corruption and has been banned from competing in October's election.

The Supreme Court disqualified Lula on Thursday.

Bolsonaro is the frontrunner in the first-round of the presidential elections next month with 22 percent support, according to a poll published by the Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics (Ibope), a private media company in Brazil.

TV images show Bolsonaro being carried on someone's shoulders in the middle of a crushing crowd of cheering supporters on one of the city's main streets when a knife was seen raised above heads just before it plunged into the candidate's body.

A witness told police the attacker held a knife wrapped up in a shirt.

He has been identified as Adelio Bispo de Oliveira, 40, and was alleged to be part of the left-leaning PSOL party from 2007 to 20014.

Authorities are investigating the suspect's mental health, he added.

He was manhandled and beaten by angry supporters of Mr Bolsonaro before being taken into custody.




But Flavio Bolsonaro, another son, said early Friday outside the hospital where his father was treated that he was conscious and the attack was a political boost.

Flavio Bolsonaro, the candidate's son, wrote on Twitter that his father had been wounded in the liver, lung and intestine.

O Globo cites a source in the campaign who described the stab wound as "superficial" and expressed optimism about Bolsonaro's ability to recover and continue campaigning.

In many ways, the incident feeds Bolsonaro's narrative that Brazil is in chaos and needs a strong hand to steady it.

Brazil's president Michel Temer said the attack was a "sad episode" and spoke out against intolerance in Brazilian society.

One of Jair Bolsonaro's key campaign messages is that he will try to turn around the growth in violent crime.

Despite being a long-serving member of Congress, Bolsonaro has successfully presented himself as an outsider, untouched by the corruption scandals engulfing so much of the political elite.

He speaks nostalgically about the country's 1964-1985 military dictatorship and has promised to fill his government with current and former military leaders.

Bolsonaro has climbed steadily in the polls on the back of political corruption, rising crime rates across Brazil's urban areas and a well orchestrated social media campaign.

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