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Far-right Bolsonaro sworn in as Brazil's new president

Jair Bolsonaro (R), standing next to Brazil's lower house president Rodrigo Maia, addresses Congress before being sworn in as Brazil's new president on January 1, 2019
Jair Bolsonaro (R), standing next to Brazil's lower house president Rodrigo Maia, addresses Congress before being sworn in as Brazil's new president on January 1, 2019 AFP
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Brasília (AFP)

Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right politician vowing a crackdown on crime and corruption, was sworn in Tuesday as Brazil's new president in front of Congress in Brasilia.

The 63-year-old former paratrooper and deputy for the past 27 years pledged to uphold the constitution as he embarked on his four-year mandate at the helm of Latin America's biggest economy.

Bolsonaro takes power with sky-high approval ratings and high hopes from many of Brazil's 210 million inhabitants that he can stamp out graft, reduce rampant crime and re-ignite an economy laid low by a record-breaking recession.

He has already said he will issue a decree easing gun laws to allow "good" citizens to own firearms as a way of deterring and countering armed criminals.

And he has vowed to challenge the leftist governments ruling Venezuela and Cuba, while moving closer to ideological allies US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Bolsonaro takes over from deeply unpopular center-right president Michel Temer, who was effectively a caretaker figure following the impeachment of leftist leader Dilma Rousseff, booted from office in 2016 for fiddling the government books.

He has said he is determined to roll back decisions made under Rousseff and her popular predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is now in prison for corruption.

Trimming the government and public debt, and embarking on privatizations are among the measures he has proposed.

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