Brazil's Bolsonaro says cleared for release from hospital

Sao Paulo (AFP) – Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said Wednesday he had been cleared to leave the hospital, two days after being rushed for emergency treatment of a partial intestinal blockage.


"Authorized to leave now. Thanks to everyone," the 66-year-old president tweeted along with a photo of himself flashing a thumbs-up, surrounded by his doctors at the Sao Paolo hospital where he was admitted Monday.

A hospital spokesman said Bolsonaro would give a news conference before leaving.

Bolsonaro developed abdominal pain during a New Year's beach vacation in the southern state of Santa Catarina, and was taken to the Vila Nova Star hospital early Monday aboard the presidential jet.

Doctors placed him on a liquid diet and said Tuesday that the blockage had been eliminated, with no need for surgery.

It was the latest in a series of health problems since the far-right leader was stabbed in the abdomen during the 2018 election campaign that brought him to power.

He has undergone at least four surgeries stemming from his stabbing at a campaign rally in September 2018, perpetrated by a man who claimed he was following God's orders, and who was later ruled mentally unfit to stand trial.

Bolsonaro, who is deft at using social media to fire up his base, kept up his online presence during his hospital stay, posting to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

Tough year ahead

The new health crisis comes as the president starts a tough final year in office heading into elections in October that polls currently place him on track to lose.

His approval rating is at an all-time low, with Brazil's economy in recession and the country battered by one of the world's worst death tolls from Covid-19 -- a disease the president has insistently downplayed.

Bolsonaro's polarizing style continues to rile up his far-right base, but he has lost crucial support among the political center and business sector.

Recent polls put Bolsonaro well behind his likely top opponent in the October elections, leftist ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Bolsonaro was last hospitalized in July, for another intestinal obstruction that gave him persistent hiccups.

On that occasion, he spent four days in the hospital. Doctors also decided not to operate and prescribed a liquid diet.

Bolsonaro regularly tears up when speaking about the knife attack, which nearly cost him his life.