Risk of infection after Bolsonaro's election?

Journalists are still preoccupied with the election victory of the far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil's presidential elections. They fear that other countries could be infected by this development in the Latin American country and explain why Europe should also be concerned.

Open/close all quotes
Ilta-Sanomat (FI) /

Soon blood could flow

Ilta-Sanomat fears that Brazil will now be dominated by a climate of hate:

“The danger must not be underestimated. The former career soldier mourns the end of the military dictatorship. The targets of his hatred are gays and the indigenous groups. And as we have seen in the US, hate speeches are followed by acts of hate. ... The dynamic in this major South American state is spreading to its smaller neighbours. The supporters of dictatorships feel reaffirmed in their views. Old wounds could soon be reopened and real blood could soon flow. In Brazil the rift between the right and the left, which hate each other, has grown even wider. The differences of opinion could soon be fought out on its streets instead of in parliament.”

Phileleftheros (CY) /

Hope is stronger than fear

Another country that has gone off track, writes Phileleftheros commenting on the election in Brazil:

“Confusion, disappointment and the hope of change are leading voters to give controversial populists a chance who are willing to violate all the principles of democracy. We have seen this in the US, Italy, Hungary and the Philippines. Now Brazil is on the same path. The voters believe that their country has powerful institutions that can withstand the strain and that the fears about what the new president will do are exaggerated. Let's hope they're right. But it's very likely that the reality will prove them wrong.”

Politiken (DK) /

Support liberal forces in Brazil

Politiken calls for intervention in Brazil:

“Because Brazil is such a large country the risk is great that other parts of the continent will be 'infected' by this radical shift to the right or political tensions. And Bolsonaro's threat to follow Trump's example and withdraw from the UN climate agreement or to open up Brazil's rainforest for commercial use means that the vote of the Brazilians is a vote that affects the whole world. Our politicians must act accordingly. Danish and European politicians must exert pressure on Brazil to stay in the agreement and protect the rainforest. And we must support the forces that defend liberal values and civil rights in Brazil and against whom Bolsonaro has declared war.”

Le Monde (FR) /

A worrying turnaround

Brazil is in the midst of a dangerous political about-face, Le Monde observes:

“Brazil has just added itself to what is already a long list of countries all over the world that have taken a decisive step towards national-populism. ... This dangerous dynamic will soon have concrete repercussions in Brazil. ... The new president will no doubt adopt the position of the United States on Israel and Venezuela. What's more, he's promised that during his term of office Brazil will leave the Paris Climate Agreement and abolish the national agency charged with controlling deforestation and encroachments on indigenous territories. For Brazil, Amazonia and the planet, this is a worrying return to old times.”

Expressen (SE) /

Not for Bolsonaro but against corruption

Expressen attempts to unravel the apparent contradictions in the election results:

“One cause for optimism is that the proportion of those who value democracy over dictatorship has never been higher in Brazil. This shows that a large section of voters refuse to take Bolsonaro's words literally. That would also explain why despite his extreme comments he was able to gain strong support among women and minorities. Many people didn't vote primarily for Bolsonaro but against the Labour Party, against the security problems and against corruption. The fear of established politicians was simply greater than the fear of a right-wing candidate.”

Mandiner (HU) /

Economy will take the edge off new agenda

Mandiner recommends a more nuanced analysis of Jair Bolsonaro:

“One of Bolsonaro's main promises is to bring the country back into the Atlantic camp and respond to the chaos left behind by the Labour Party with the neo-liberal economic concepts of the Chicago school. With this promise he also won the support of business and industry - which will limit the practical implementation of Bolsonaro's unorthodox dreams. Jair Bolsonaro was not elected by the impoverished masses and losers of globalisation, but by the active lower and upper middle classes that sustain Brazil and yearn for order. The Brazilian election winner can't be accurately described using the usual populist anti-establishment attributes.”

Público (PT) /

Why the Labour Party has also won

Público argues that the election has also given Brazil's Labour Party (PT) the chance to re-establish itself:

“The same election that has now brought Bolsonaro to power is the election that has given the PT the leadership of the opposition. In this respect both political parties will have reached their goals. ... Now that the conservative party (MDB) led by incumbent president Michel Temer and in particular the social democratic PSDB have been weakened, a significant section of the opposition will rally around the PT in the fight for democracy and against authoritarianism, And the PT will make life hard for Bolsonaro not just in Congress but also on the street.”

El Periódico de Catalunya (ES) /

The Brazilian Trump

The voters are hoping for a fresh start, El Periódico de Catalunya comments:

“One could say that Brazil now has its own copy of Trump. The disappointment and surprise of those who simply can't accept that this is the decision of the majority is opposed by a kind of political realism that only wants the country to be extricated from the current blockade without much caring who does the extricating. ... What decided the vote was the Brazilians' imperative need to liquidate the past by means of a collective catharsis, without worrying too much about the profile of the creator of this catharsis.”

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

Fear of a déja-vu

This election marks a true milestone for Brazil, Der Tagesspiegel notes:

“With this vote Brazil joins the growing cohort of countries ruled by authoritarian men who find consensus and discussion a pain and believe that they themselves are infallible. ... Why did the Brazilians vote for Bolsonaro? Because to them the state seems incapable of solving problems like crime, lack of education and poor healthcare. Because of a corrupt political class. And because the country has failed to come to terms with the military dictatorship. Fears are now rampant that history could repeat itself in Brazil.”