Brazil’s right-wing presidential frontrunner Jair Bolsonaro has undergone emergency surgery after he was stabbed in the stomach during a campaign event.
Mr Bolsonaro’s son Flavio said his father had suffered severe blood loss and arrived at the hospital “almost dead” after the attack in the southeastern city of Juiz de Fora on Thursday.
The surgeon who operated on Mr Bolsonaro said the 63-year-old had suffered multiple internal injuries to the small and large intenstine during the attack.
“It was necessary for us to not just treat one point (of entry) but a number of them inside the small intestine,” Dr Luiz Henrique said at a news conference.
Mr Bolsonaro is in a serious but stable condition and will remain in intensive care for at least seven days, the doctor said.
Images on Brazilian television and social media showed Mr Bolsonaro being carried on the shoulders of a throng of supporters, before a man lunges at his stomach.
Police confirmed to the Reuters news agency that a suspect was in custody, but did not identify him.
President Michel Temer condemned the attack and instructed his minister of security to reinforce security for election candidates.
Jair Bolsonaro está mais forte do que nunca e pronto para ser eleito Presidente do Brasil no 1° TURNO!
Deus acaba de nos dar mais um sinal de que o bem vencerá o mal!
Obrigado a todos que nos deram força nesse momento muito difícil!
Brasil acima de tudo, Deus acima de todos! pic.twitter.com/iijlCFBhE1
— Flavio Bolsonaro 177 Senador_RJ (@FlavioBolsonaro) September 7, 2018
“It is intolerable to see that in a democratic state it is not possible to have a normal campaign,” he said.
Mr Bolsonaro’s son shared an image of his father saying: “Jair Bolsonaro is stronger than ever and ready to be elected President of Brazil on the first round!
“God gives us another sign that good will triumph over evil. Thanks to all who give us strength at this difficult time! Brazil above all. God above all!”
The attack is a dramatic twist in what is already Brazil’s most unpredictable presidential election since the country’s return to democracy three decades ago.
Latest polls put Mr Bolsonaro in a clear lead with 22%, compared with 12% each for environmentalist Marina Silva and center-left runner Ciro Gomes.
Mr Bolsonaro, a retired army captain, is a controversial figure who has enraged many Brazilians with extreme comments, but has a devout following among conservative voters.
One of his campaign pledges has been to legalise the carrying of weapons in order to combat rising violent crime.
Despite being a long-serving member of Congress, Mr Bolsonaro has successfully presented himself as an outsider, untouched by the corruption scandals engulfing Mr Temer and much of the political elite.
Yet he has also courted deep controversy with comments attacking women and sexual minorities, as well as for praising the country’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship.
Sometimes described as Brazil’s Donald Trump, Mr Bolsonaro has a huge social media following of 8.5 million people.
The only Brazilian politician currently 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.
From – SkyNews