Opinion – Mathias Alencastro: The world has already turned the page Bolsonaro, now all we need is Brazil


Those who intended to overthrow Brazilian democracy by resorting to the delinquent wiles of Trumpism underestimated fundamental differences between the American and Brazilian claims.

In the US, the election is dominated by the presidential race, in Brazil, the backbone of the Republic is elected in Congress and in the states. Bolsonaro’s denial of the results would be contested by 28,000 candidates for deputy, senator and governor, who invested their lives in the campaign.

As Marcus André Melo has already indicated in his column, the uncertainty of the American election has its origin in the hyper-decentralized, not to say chaotic, system of vote counting. The tense images of officials trying to decipher the bulletins are not repeated in Brazil, where the immediate announcement of the results reduces the time for the dissemination of lies and limits the scope for action of opportunists.

Finally, Bolsonarism is a non-party movement, not by choice, but by incompetence. Without the Republican Party, Trump would be unable to drag the political class into a clandestine adventure.

A fourth and decisive argument confirms that the Capitol analogy, an obsession in the national debate in recent months, is full of holes: international recognition. One of the destabilizing elements of the Washington uprising is the realization that international law is not equipped to protect the political system from its main geopolitical guarantor.

None of this applies to Brazil, where electoral legitimacy and international recognition are inseparable. The public message from the charge d’affaires of the US Embassy in Brasilia at the doors of the first round was just the most visible international signal in defense of Brazilian democracy and against the coup projects of Jair Bolsonaro.

With an agenda falling apart, the trip to London for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II and the trip to the United Nations were marked by isolation and embarrassment. The trips were supposed to serve to reinforce his presidential authority, but ended up creating the image of a dying candidate who has lost all conditions to govern his country.

European diplomats draw parallels between the Brazilian election and that of countries like Portugal and France. In both cases, elections that were announced to be competitive ended up generating comfortable majorities.

The explanation is always the same. The multiplicity of systemic crises, war, the pandemic and the climate have rehabilitated the role of the welfare state and, by extension, of the parties most associated with social democracy.

Faced with the uncertainty provoked by the radicalization of the right, the voter, pragmatic, mobilized around center-left and center-left candidates. The exception is Italy, where, as Sunday’s election should make clear, the collapse of parties has left the political system hostage to populists and extremists.

In the view of the international community, an eventual runoff in Brazil would be just a bitter and fleeting appetizer of an impossible second term: sanctions, boycotts and violence.

The world has already turned the page Bolsonaro. Only Brazil is missing.

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