The leading candidate in Brazil’s presidential race has been transferred to the Albert Einstein Israelite hospital in Sao Paulo for further treatment after being stabbed at a campaign rally, according to local media.
Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right candidate in Brazil’s October 7 presidential election, was attacked in the city of Juiz de Fora, on Thursday.
On Friday morning, the 63-year-old underwent a roughly 500km trip after undergoing emergency surgery to address a perforated liver, according to 24-hour Brazilian news channel GloboNews.
Bolsonaro could take two months to fully recover, said Dr Luiz Henrique Borsato, who operated on him.
“His internal wounds were grave and put the patient’s life at risk,” Borsato said.
Videos shared on social media showed Bolsonaro, whose agenda includes cracking down on crime in Latin America’s largest country, being carried through a crowd by his supporters when he is suddenly stabbed with a knife to the lower part of his stomach.
The attacker was arrested immediately.
He was identified as Adelio Bispo de Oliveira, 40, who said he was “carrying out a divine mission, a mission from God”, according to Luis Boundens, head of a union of federal police officers.
Oliveira was affiliated with the left wing Socialism and Liberty Party from 2007 to 2014, the party said in a written statement, in which it repudiated the violence.
Authorities are investigating the suspect’s mental health, police said.
‘Stronger than ever’
Bolsonaro’s son, Flavio, said in a tweet late on Thursday that his father was “stronger than ever” and ready to be elected in October.
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 (@FlavioBolsonaro) September 7, 2018
“I just want to send a message to the thugs who tried to ruin the life of a family man, a guy who is the hope for millions of Brazilians: You just elected him president. He will win in the first round,” Flavio Bolsonaro said on Friday, speaking outside the hospital where his father was being treated.
Bolsonaro is the frontrunner in the first round of the presidential elections next month with 22 percent support, according to a poll published by the Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics (IBOPE), a private media company in Brazil.
It was the first public opinion poll since former president and popular leftist, Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, was barred from running by Brazil’s electoral court on September 1.
Lula, who was previously leading the opinion polls, is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence for fraud related to a corruption scandal.
Bolsonaro’s rivals in the race expressed outrage at the attack.
Fernando Haddad, who will likely replace Lula as the presidential candidate of the Workers Party, said the stabbing was a “shame” and a “horror”.
President Michel Temer and Bolsonaro’s electoral rivals Ciro Gomes, Marina Silva, and Geraldo Alckmin all condemned the violence.
Haddad has also been charged with corruption and came in last with six percent in the Ibope poll, which, however, also found that a third of Brazil’s population is undecided.