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The Rise of Far-Right Candidate Jair Bolsonaro and the Presidential Elections in Brazil


New York, NY - October 11, 2018 ( Newswire) Following the recent election results in Brazil, which saw the far-right, Social Liberal Party (PSL) candidate Jair Bolsonaro win a larger-than-expected number of votes (and become a driving force in the election of 52 PSL candidates to Congress), The Intercept and The Intercept Brasil have been publishing a series of stories in English, focused on the political and socio-economic background (as well as consequences) of these results. The second round of voting will see a face-off between Bolsonaro and the Workers' Party (PT) candidate Fernando Haddad, and second-round governor elections in 13 states and the capital of Brasília.

In a conversation with Intercept contributor Rosana Pinheiro-Machado, a professor of anthropology at the Federal University of Santa Maria, The Intercept Brasil managing editor Andrew Fishman parsed what is particularly unique about this election cycle and debated what the Workers' Party (PT) can do to promote democratic values and jumpstart a leftist coalition that can challenge the right's mobilization of the public. "This coalition will emerge, it will be well thought out, but it comes at a moment of desperation; it was not a programmatic moment, it was not a moment in the name of Brazil, as it might have been considered before. Now it's difficult, even with the votes of Ciro and Marina, to catch up to Bolsonaro."

Pinheiro-Machado's incisive analysis is backed by extensive field research studying Bolsonaro's movement online. "I imagine that [Bolsonaro's] party's victory is the greatest expansion in the history of the Congress, going from one to 52 seats. He manages, through the force of his name alone, to elect 52 candidates and reorganize the entire right around him. In this sense, it is something new, not just a rightward turn, but it is also the destruction of the traditional right field in Brazil and the reorganization around the far right," said Rosana Pinheiro-Machado.

The Intercept Brasil also released a video discussion in English with Intercept co-founding editor Glenn Greenwald and The Intercept Brasil journalists Bruna de Lara and Victor Pougy, about Jair Bolsonaro's history of statements against minorities, women, LGBT people and democratic values –– as well as the candidate's troubling calls to "fight violence with violence" and his affinity for the country's military dictatorship and past. The 35-minute discussion also offers an overview of Fernando Haddad's (the Worker's Party candidate) background and history, and contextualizes the current political climate in Brazil with larger global trends.

The day after the election, Greenwald also offered his own analysis of the election results:

"In sum," he wrote, "it is virtually impossible to overstate the threat level posed to democracy and human rights in the world's fifth most-populous country as a result of last night's election. And unlike in the U.S. or in the UK, which have old, strong, long-established democratic institutions that can limit the excesses and worst abuses of demagogues and authoritarians, Brazil has none of that. Spiraling from multiple crises – suffocating economic inequality, an epidemic of violence worse than many war zones, and a corruption scandal so sweeping that it has infected the core of almost every faction of the ruling class – this is a country with little to no ability to impose limits on what Bolsonaro wants to do."

For additional info, please email Rodrigo Brandão at Reporters Andrew Fishman, Bruna de Lara, Glenn Greenwald and Victor Pougy are based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and are available for interviews.

About The Intercept:

The Intercept, a publication of First Look Media, was launched in 2014 to provide an outlet for fearless, adversarial journalism. Our reporters have the editorial freedom to hold powerful institutions accountable, digging beneath official narratives to reveal the hidden truth. The Intercept's award-winning coverage focuses on national security, politics, civil liberties, the environment, technology, criminal justice, media, and more. Regular contributors include co-founding editors Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill.

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