BBC : Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro 'lost 40% of blood in stabbing'

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Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro gathered in front of Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paolo

Brazil's presidential front-runner, Jair Bolsonaro, lost 40% of his blood after he was stabbed on Thursday, hospital officials say.

The far-right politician was attacked at a campaign rally in Minas Gerais.

Doctors say he suffered a deep and life-threatening stab wound in his intestines, but is now recovering well.

The controversial politician won supporters for his tough stance on crime, but has outraged many in Brazil with racist and homophobic comments.

Polls suggest he will get the most votes in the first round of the October presidential elections if former President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva remains blocked from standing, but is unlikely to win a run-off.

Left-wing Lula had been the long-standing favourite but he is currently in prison, appealing against a ban on his candidacy that was imposed after his conviction for corruption.

What's the latest on Mr Bolsonaro?

Hospital director Eunice Dantas told reporters on Friday that Mr Bolsonaro had lost more than two litres of blood, and was in shock, when he arrived.

He is now stable and "in excellent clinical condition" after being operated on, she added, although he will need to spend at least a week in hospital.

Mr Bolsonaro's family say the knife had penetrated 12cm (4.7in) into his abdomen, Reuters news agency reports.

He has now been transferred to a hospital in Sao Paulo.

In a video circulated on social media on Friday, Mr Bolsonaro spoke from his hospital bed, saying he had been in "intolerable" pain and had "never hurt anyone".

His son Flavio also tweeted a photo of his father making the thumbs-up gesture from his hospital bed.

Skip Twitter post by @FlavioBolsonaro

End of Twitter post by @FlavioBolsonaro

Police have arrested a suspect, 40-year-old Adelio Obispo de Oliveira, and say they are investigating his mental health.

He was manhandled and beaten by angry supporters of Mr Bolsonaro before being taken into custody.

What has been the reaction?

Mr Bolsonaro's electoral rivals have all condemned the stabbing. Fernando Haddad, who is expected to replace Lula on the Workers' Party ticket, said the attack was "absurd and regrettable".

Speaking in the capital Brasilia, President Michel Temer said such an attack was "intolerable" in a democratic state and that he hoped Mr Bolsonaro recovered soon.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Jair Bolsonaro, pictured seconds after being stabbed in the stomach

Some observers believe the attack may improve Mr Bolsonaro's chances at next month's election.

Correspondents have described the attack as a dramatic twist in one of Brazil's most uncertain presidential elections in decades.

Why is Mr Bolsonaro so polarising?

The 63-year-old, who is representing the Social Liberal Party (PSL), is followed by millions of Brazilians on social media, and many refer to him as the "Brazilian Trump".

He also supports loosening gun control laws, and is backed by millions of evangelical Christians for his uncompromising anti-abortion stance.

However some of Mr Bolsonaro's past comments have caused uproar, including equating homosexuality with paedophilia, and saying a congresswoman was too ugly to be raped.

He is currently being investigated for alleged racism over derogatory remarks he made about Afro-Brazilians.

Who will be Brazil's next president?

President Temer, an unpopular leader, is not standing for re-election, and millions of voters remain undecided.

Mr Bolsonaro is expected to have a strong first round but lose a run-off to leftist Ciro Gomes, environmentalist Marina Silva or ex-Governor of Sao Paulo Geraldo Alckmin, according to leading research company Ibope.

A race against Lula's likely replacement, Fernando Haddad, could be much narrower. Ibope said its most recent survey showed Mr Bolsonaro losing to him by just one percentage point.

Mr Haddad was charged with corruption earlier this week and, like Lula, denies any wrongdoing.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court rejected Lula's latest appeal to run. The Workers' Party has until the end of Tuesday to register Mr Haddad as its presidential candidate.

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