Runoff in Brazil: Far-right candidate is favourite

Brazil is facing a political earthquake. The far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro of the Social Liberal Party (PSL) only narrowly missed winning the presidential election in its first round. In three weeks time he will run against the ex-mayor of São Paulo, Fernando Haddad of the Workers' Party (PT), in the second round. For commentators his success is the result of a failed political system.

Open/close all quotes
La Stampa (IT) /

Easy pickings for the populists

Frustration with previous governments has driven people into the arms of the populists in Brazil too, the diplomat Michele Valensise explains in La Stampa:

“In almost the entire country, and particularly in the industrial, developed south, the people have firmly backed a politician who was more than controversial due to his reactionary rhetoric and his at times nostalgic attitude towards the military regime. Above all, however, the desire for change and the mistrust of familiar faces won out. Brazil's long-standing economic crisis and the voters' rejection of the widespread corruption in politics and the economy provided fertile ground for protests, which have been unscrupulously exploited by the former army captain and his growing number of sponsors.”

Jornal de Negócios (PT) /

The Brazilian dream has been shattered

Bolsonaro's victory spells the end of the process of reconciliation in Brazil, Jornal de Negócios laments:

“Bolsonaro, with his fascist extremism, is the radical answer to the corruption of the Workers' Party (PT) and the lack of security. ... His victory represents the implosion of the Brazilian dream: the country of the future, constructed on the basis of zest for life, samba and football shoes, has realised that it has feet of clay. Bolsonaro's victory spells the end of the great Brazilian reconciliation between the elite and the excluded promoted by former president Lula da Silva during his best years. ... The bribery and corruption scandals badly shook the PT and shattered the dream of national reconciliation and a prosperous future.”

El Periódico de Catalunya (ES) /

Right gaining the upper hand in South America

The shift to the right in Latin America has a lot to do with the fact that the citizens have been disappointed by left-wing governments, El Periódico de Catalunya explains:

“The voters of the Latin American giant have set aside any moral reservations they may have had and broken with the conventions to put themselves in the hands of a man who is ideologically very close to Donald Trump. After the election of Sebastián Piñera in Chile and Iván Duque in Colombia, Bolsonaro's victory reaffirms the change of political cycle in South America and the weakening of the left, which has fallen victim to its own mistakes and its tendency to give in to the same vices it denounced when it was in the opposition. ... The election result is both a sign of support for Bolsonaro and a settling of scores with the political establishment of the last three decades.”