Time Magazine readers have voted Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro as Personality of the Year 2021, it was announced Tuesday. However, the publication has the final say on who gets the traditional award, granted to whoever has had the greatest influence “for better or worse.”
Of the 9 million votes counted in the poll, the far-right president obtained the support of 24 percent, just over 2 million votes. Former US President Donald Trump, a close ally of Bolsonaro's, came in second, with 9% of the votes. First-line healthcare professionals took third place with 6.3% for their response in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Time called Bolsonaro a controversial leader who intends to seek reelection in 2022 despite growing rejection to his economic policy in addition to his management of the coronavirus crisis and his personal stance regarding treatments and vaccines.
Those who voted for me, thank you very much, they voted well, Bolsonaro said. We hope that the result of the elections will be respected, he added.
The magazine created the Personality of the Year award in 1927 and the winner was Charles Lindbergh, for his solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Other winners over the years include Mahatma Gandhi, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, General Charles De Gaulle, Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Pope Francis and the Me Too Movement.
Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg was elected in 2019 and Joe Biden shared the award with Kamala Harris in 2020.
Our congratulations to Donald Trump for second place, Bolsonaro went on after the campaign promoted by his followers on social media yielded the desired results. Bolsonaro himself had asked for support through his traditional live broadcast on Facebook.
Time will make the final announcement on who gets the award Dec. 13.
In releasing the results of the survey, the magazine highlighted Bolsonaro's shortcomings, such as being investigated by the Supreme Court for a comment in which he falsely claimed that getting vaccinated against COVID-19 increased the chances of contracting AIDS, while a Brazilian Senate report in October recommended that the president be indicted on multiple criminal charges for mismanaging the country's response to the pandemic, which has killed more than 600,000 people in Brazil. Bolsonaro has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.