Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has officially launched his re-election campaign, as he trails his main rival badly in opinion polls.

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

He promised to retain a welfare programme that makes cash payments to poorer Brazilians.

His left-wing rival, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, is widely known for his policies to lift people out of poverty.

Mr Bolsonaro’s candidacy was officially endorsed by his right-wing Liberal Party. The election is due to take place on 2 October.

During the rally at Maracanãzinho stadium, Mr Bolsonaro told his supporters, “The army is on our side.”

Lula, who previously served as president from 2003-10, was officially nominated by the left-wing Worker’s Party on Thursday. Some opinion polls suggest he leads Mr Bolsonaro by as many as 20 percentage points.

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