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Bolsonaro vows to govern 'with no distinction' to race, sex, religion

Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro takes office on January 1, 2019
Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro takes office on January 1, 2019 Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro takes office on January 1, 2019 AFP
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Brasília (AFP)

Brazil's incoming far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, criticized by detractors for his many homophobic, racist and misogynist remarks, vowed Monday to govern "without distinction of social origin, race, sex, age or religion."

The former army captain and veteran lawmaker, who easily won November elections to rule Latin America's biggest country, made the pledge in a ceremony in Brazil's electoral tribunal ahead of his taking office on January 1.

Bolsonaro appeared emotional in the event, tearing up during the national hymn.

After first thanking God for being alive -- a reference to a stabbing attack he survived in September while campaigning -- he said: "I thank the more than 57 million Brazilians who honored me with their vote. To those who did not back me, I ask for their confidence so we can together build a better future for our country."

The electoral ceremony had been originally scheduled for December 19. It was brought forward because Bolsonaro was meant to undergo follow-up surgery for the stab wound he suffered to his stomach next week, but then an inflammation prompted the operation to be delayed until January.

After the ceremony, Bolsonaro avoided a traditional media conference, highlighting his distaste for taking journalists' questions.

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