UPDATE – US congratulates Brazil's Bolsonaro on election victory


By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – The U.S. on Monday congratulated Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro on his recent electoral victory.

"We salute Brazil’s strong commitment to democracy and congratulate the Brazilian people on participating in a successful election," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

"We value our deep cooperation with Brazil and look forward to working with President-elect Bolsonaro in the coming years."

The far-right candidate won Sunday's runoff election to become Brazil's next president.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he personally wished Bolsonaro congratulations during a telephone call, which he called "excellent".

"We agreed that Brazil and the United States will work closely together on Trade, Military and everything else!" Trump said on Twitter.

With 99 percent of the ballots counted, Bolsonaro garnered 55.1 percent of the votes compared to 44.9 percent of the electorate who cast ballots for Fernando Haddad, the candidate of the left-wing Workers' Party.

In the first round of the election earlier this month, Bolsonaro received 46.89 percent of the ballots. Haddad got 28 percent.

In his victory speech, the former army captain vowed to defend "the constitution, democracy and freedom" in the country.

The State Department confirmed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also spoke by telephone with Bolsonaro on Monday.

"The Secretary congratulated Mr. Bolsonaro on his win and reinforced the vibrant partnership between the United States and Brazil based on our mutual commitment to promote security, democracy, economic prosperity, and human rights," Nauert said in a separate statement.

"They discussed collaboration on priority foreign policy issues including Venezuela, countering transnational crime, and ways to strengthen economic ties between the United States and Brazil, the two largest economies in the Western Hemisphere," she added.