The conservative’s comments degrading women, gays and minorities have alarmed many leaders worldwide, who fear a surge to the far-right will undermine Brazilian democracy.
Mr Bolsonaro has promised to clean up Brazilian politics, shrink the state and crack down on crime, but his vows to wipe political opponents off the map and remarks denigrating women, gays and racial minorities have shocked many.
While French leftists say Mr Bolsonaro’s election win is a body blow for democracy, the French far-right sees his win as a victory for nationalists all around the world.
“Mr Bolsonaro is obviously a far-right populist,” European Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, a French leftist, told Public Senat TV on Monday, as he warned against the global rise of conservative populism.
“Is it a global trend? Yes it is, sadly. So-called liberal democracies are going into reverse and losing ground worldwide. It is a phenomenon which is maybe linked to a form of democratic fatigue,” he continued, before calling on defenders of democracy to “launch a counter-attack”.
“No democracy is immune [to populism],” centrist MP Aurore Bergé, spokeswoman for the ruling La République en Marche (LREM) party, said on Twitter.
Centrist lawmaker Aurélien Taché, for his part, said in an interview with the TV channel CNews that Mr Bolsonaro’s victory was “very bad news,” before admitting that his election was the direct result of “the failures of Brazil’s borderline populist left”.
The leader of France’s Socialists, Olivier Faure, expressed his sympathy to the people of Brazil who he said had “witnessed the election of a xenophobe, homophone, misogynist, dictatorship admirer and enemy of the media who spreads fake news”.
“From one continent to another – from [Viktor] Orban to [Donald] Trump; from [Matteo] Salvini to Bolsonaro – [support for] democracy is wavering. Nationalists are capturing and distorting people’s anger,” he added.
After having “eliminated” former left-wing leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva using “pseudo-justice,” neoliberalism has “chosen Hitler over the popular front,” far-left lawmaker Eric Coquerel said.
Clémentine Autain, another far-left MP, called on democratic leaders worldwide to “build a wall to protect people against fascism”.
A former army captain, Mr Bolsonaro won 55.2 per cent of the vote in the run-off election against left-wing hopeful Fernando Haddad, according to electoral authority TSE.
The 63-year-old congressman’s rise to power has been propelled by overwhelming rejection of the leftist Workers’ Party (PT) that ran Brazil for 13 of the last 15 years.
The party was ousted from power in 2016 amid deep recession and a political graft scandal.
But not all have expressed concern over Mr Bolsonaro’s win.
Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right Rassemblement national (RN) party, said on Twitter she hoped Mr Bolsonaro would fix Brazil’s economy, security situation and democracy, which she said were all “in a very precarious state”.
“Brazilians have just sanctioned the widespread corruption and terrifying crime rate that flourished under far-left governments,” Mrs Le Pen said.
Gilbert Collard, a Le Pen ally and far-right lawmaker, also took to Twitter to congratulate Mr Bolsonaro, saying that his victory showed that the people of Brazil had had enough of gang violence and of the “the corrupting lies of the left”.
The French presidency struck a more cautious tone, saying that “France and Brazil have a strategic partnership based around common values of respect and the promotion of democratic principles”.
“It is in the respect of these values that France wishes to continue its co-operation with Brazil in tackling major issues of the day, as well as areas such as peace, international security and environment issues within the context of the Paris Climate Agreement,” said a statement from President Emmanuel Macron’s office.
Mr Bolsonaro, for his part, has pledged to respect democratic principles but change the country’s direction.
“We cannot continue flirting with socialism, communism, populism and leftist extremism … We are going to change the destiny of Brazil,” he said in his acceptance address.