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Life's a beach for Brazil's Bolsonaro as spaceman joins his team

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Life's a beach for Brazil's Bolsonaro as spaceman joins his team
Brazil's new president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, waves to supporters as he watches airplanes performing near his condominium at Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil October 31, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Landau   -   Copyright  STRINGER(Reuters)
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By Rodrigo Viga Gaier

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazil’s far-right President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who nearly died from a stab wound while campaigning last month, donned a bulletproof vest on Wednesday and headed to the beach in Rio de Janeiro to attend an acrobatic air show in his honour.

Bolsonaro won the presidential race on Sunday, easily overcoming his leftist opponent with a vow to kneecap violent drug gangs and end years of political graft.

He and his advisors have begun fleshing out the staffing of his administration and setting out key priorities, including a fast-tracked pension reform that has faced resistance in Congress.

On Wednesday, the former army captain said on Twitter that Marcos Pontes, a Brazilian astronaut who was the country’s first person in space, would be his minister for science and technology.

Under heavy police protection, Bolsonaro left his beachside home to watch the air show, performed by a local aviation club in Rio’s swanky Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood.

Snipers positioned themselves up high atop a lifeguard’s kiosk, while plain-clothed police officers milled about in the crowd.

On Thursday, Bolsonaro is due to meet with crusading anti-corruption judge Sergio Moro, who led the so-called “Car Wash” probe snaring big names in Brazil’s political class and opening the door for Bolsonaro’s tough-on-corruption campaign.

Bolsonaro has previously said he wants Moro to serve as his justice minister and eventually join the Supreme Court. The court’s next vacancy is expected in 2020.

A columnist for Estado de S. Paulo reported on the newspaper’s website on Wednesday that Moro will accept an offer from Bolsonaro to run the Justice Ministry with expanded powers over corruption and public safety, without citing a source.

Moro, who oversaw graft investigations culminating with a 12-year bribery and money laundering sentence for leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has been cautious in public statements.

“In case I’m indeed offered a post, it will be subject to a balanced discussion and reflection,” Moro said in a statement.

Bolsonaro pledged not to hire anyone tainted by corruption charges.

“Our ministries will not be composed of anyone convicted of corruption, as they were in previous governments,” he wrote on Twitter. “I will announce the names officially on my social networks. Any information from anywhere else is base speculation and not credible.”

(Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Writing and additional reporting by Gabriel Stargardter, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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