Brazil presidential candidate Bolsonaro stabbed, in surgery - 9/6/2018 4:44:16 PM

National Social Liberal Party presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro

National Social Liberal Party presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro

Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, the frontrunner in the country's October elections, was stabbed in the abdomen during a campaign rally in southeastern Brazil on Thursday (Friday NZ time), his family said.

Supporters outside the hospital in Juiz de Fora where Bolsonaro was being treated included Bruno Engler, 21, who is running for a Minas Gerais state congressional seat for the candidate's Social Liberal Party.

The Supreme Court disqualified Lula on Thursday.

A witness told police the attacker held a knife wrapped up in a shirt.

Mr Santiago said the attacker was identified as Adelio Bispo de Oliveira.

After his arrest, Mr Bispo de Oliveira said he was "carrying out a divine mission, a mission from God", said Luis Boundens, head of a union of federal police officers. Reuters quotes officials as saying the suspect is mentally disturbed.

The Folha de S.Paulo newspaper reported earlier that Bolsonaro was having surgery for a perforated liver that caused loss of blood.

The presidential candidate, who is representing the Social Liberal Party (PSL), has been compared to President TrumpDonald John TrumpNorth Korea to cooperate with USA in nuclear talks: report Nike to air Kaepernick ad during 'Thursday Night Football: report Brothel owner who won Nevada GOP primary being investigated over sexual assault allegations MORE for his oftentimes controversial rhetoric.

Adelio Bispo de Oliveira is suspected of stabbing Jair Bolsonaro
Adelio Bispo de Oliveira is suspected of stabbing Jair Bolsonaro

This is another twist - a dramatic one - in what has already been a turbulent campaign for one of Brazil's most uncertain elections in decades.

Congressman Bolsonaro, who has enraged some Brazilians with controversial comments but has a devout following among conservative voters, could take two months to recover and will spend at least a week in hospital, said Dr Luiz Henrique Borsato, who operated on the candidate.

Latest polls put Mr Bolsonaro in a clear lead with 22% compared with 12% each for environmentalist Marina Silva and center-left runner Ciro Gomes.

Political violence is common at state and city levels in Brazil, most recently with the high-profile assassination of a Rio de Janeiro city councilwoman.

One of Jair Bolsonaro's key campaign messages is that he will try to turn around the growth in violent crime.

Despite being a long-serving member of congress, he has successfully presented himself as an outsider, untouched by the corruption scandals engulfing so much of the political elite.

Brazilians surged onto social media to argue over whether the attack supports Bolsonaro's assertions that the country is off the rails or if his heated rhetoric contributed to inciting the attack.

The former military officer is considered a far-right populist and is now leading the polls.

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