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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro kicks off election campaign at Rio rally

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By Mark Armstrong  with AFP, AP
Jair Bolsonaro greets supporters at a rally in Rio
Jair Bolsonaro greets supporters at a rally in Rio   -   Copyright  AP   -  

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has officially launched his re-election campaign.

Thousands of the far-right leader's supporters gathered at a stadium in Rio de Janeiro where he was nominated.

The controversial president pitched the upcoming poll as a fight between good and evil and he wasted no time in attacking his main challenger for the presidency, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a former president often simply known as Lula.

"We are the majority, we are the good ones," Bolsonaro told cheering supporters, "and we are willing to fight for our freedom and our homeland. We have to attract the young leftists to our side, show them the truth and show them what they have to lose with their candidate."

Bolsonaro continued to warn against what he calls "flaws" in the electoral system.

Such attacks in recent months have led analysts to fear that the man dubbed the "Tropical Trump," may refuse to accept defeat like his former American counterpart.

Lula was officially nominated by his left-wing Workers Party (PT) last week.

Analysts say this race between the left and right for the presidency is Brazil’s most polarised election in decades.

The election is due to take place in three months.