Far-right former army captain Jair Bolsonaro sworn in as President of Brazil

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro waves as he rides in an open car Credit: Andre Penner/AP

Controversial far-right former army captain Jair Bolsonaro has been sworn in as Brazil’s President, promising to overhaul several aspects of daily life and put an end to business-as-usual governing.

For the 63-year-old, the New Year’s Day inauguration was the culmination of a journey from a marginalised and even ridiculed congressmen to a leader who many Brazilians hope can combat endemic corruption.

A fan of US President Donald Trump, Mr Bolsonaro rose to power on an anti-corruption and pro-gun agenda that has energised conservatives and hard-right supporters after four consecutive presidential election wins by the left-leaning Workers’ Party.

Jair Bolsonaro and his wife Michelle motorcade procession along the main road leading to Congress and other government buildings. Credit: AP

Mr Bolsonaro won 55.5% of the vote in the October election after rising in prominence amid disgust with Brazil’s political system.

In particular, many Brazilians are furious with the Workers’ Party for its role in a corruption scheme.

However, Mr Bolsonaro is a highly controversial figure and has been accused of misogyny, homophobia and racism.

In the past the former Congressman has told a fellow parliamentarian she was "too ugly to rape", spoke out in favour of dictatorship, defended the use of torture, said if his son were gay, he’d rather his son were dead, and called black Brazilians "fat and lazy."

Jair Bolsonaro was flanked by running bodyguards. Credit: AP

As Mr Bolsonaro takes power, there are fears he will usher in a rollback of civil rights and a weakening of institutions in what remains a young democracy, especially since he has waxed nostalgic for Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship and said he would name military men to his Cabinet.

Mr Bolsonaro is the latest of several far-right leaders around the globe who have come to power by riding waves of anger at the establishment and promising to ditch the status quo.

“Congratulations to President @jairbolsonaro who just made a great inauguration speech,” Trump tweeted. “The USA is with you!”

Tuesday’s festivities in the capital Brasilia began with a motorcade procession along the main road leading to Congress and other government buildings.

Mr Bolsonaro and his wife, Michelle, stood up in an open-top Rolls-Royce and waved to thousands of onlookers.

They were surrounded by dozens of guards on horses and plain-clothes bodyguards who ran beside the car.

Michelle Bolsonaro is a former Brazilian parliamentary secretary of the Chamber of Deputies. Credit: AP

Once inside Congress, Mr Bolsonaro and his vice president, retired Gen Hamilton Mourao, took the oath of office.

Mr Bolsonaro then read a short speech that included many of the far-right positions he staked out during the campaign.

He promised to combat the “ideology of gender” teaching in schools, “respect our Judeo-Christian tradition” and “prepare children for the job market, not political militancy”.

“I call on all congressmen to help me rescue Brazil from corruption, criminality and ideological submission,” he said.