People light candles in support of Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil's Presidential candidate for the National Social Liberal Party, who was stabbed during a campaign event, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. Bolsonaro, a leading Brazilian presidential candidate whose heated rhetoric has electrified some voters and angered others in a deeply polarized electorate, was stabbed during a campaign event. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

Stabbing of a leading Brazilian candidate could reshape race

September 06, 2018 - 11:01 pm

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The wounding of a leading Brazilian presidential candidate has the potential to reshape the election contest after dramatically exposing deep polarization in Latin America's largest nation.

Far-right congressman Jair Bolsonaro is a former army captain who has promised to crack down on crime, and he has long argued that Brazil needs a strong hand to be steadied.

A man stabbed the candidate in the abdomen during a campaign event Thursday, and Brazilians surged on to social media to argue over whether the attack supports Bolsonaro's assertions that the country is off the rails or whether his heated rhetoric contributed to inciting the attack.

The public's anger is partially responsible for making this year's campaign the most unpredictable in years for Brazil, and the attack could lead to another seismic shift.

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