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“The bicycle guy”: how the international press responded to Johnson’s win

"The United Kingdom is torn by intense centrifugal forces."

By Prospect Team  

How did the international press cover Boris Johnson's victory? Photo: PA/Prospect composite

“A matter of great indifference for the English nationalists”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Perhaps the greatest imponderable is within the country itself. The United Kingdom is torn by intense centrifugal forces. After the great successes of the Scottish nationalists, the call for independence in the north of Britain will sound even louder than before … The collapse of the [Union] could therefore be the long-term price that the country has to pay for Brexit. But that was a matter of great indifference for the English nationalists, who even before this election put all their faith in leaving the EU.”

“The High Price of Johnson’s Triumph” (“Der hohe Preis von Johnsons Triumph”), by Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger 


“The bicycle guy”

Nairobi Star

“Uhuru [Kenyatta, Kenya’s president] underscored the strong bilateral and historical ties between Kenya and the United Kingdom. “…I assure the PM of my commitment to continue working closely with his Administration for the mutual benefit of the people of the two countries,” Uhuru said in a tweet on Friday. In August 2018, the President left his delegates chuckling after he forgot Boris Johnson’s second name. While addressing Kenyans during a live press conference, Uhuru forgot Boris’s name calling him ‘the Bicycle guy’.”

“Uhuru congratulates Boris, the ‘bicycle guy’ after win in UK,” by Nancy Agutu


“You ain’t seen nothing yet”

The Irish Times

“[Taoiseach Leo] Varadkar wanted to get the withdrawal agreement done. It probably now will be, and the risks posed to Ireland by a hung parliament and more uncertainty on the agreement are gone. However, the withdrawal agreement only covers some aspects of the UK’s departure, and 2020 will be dominated by talks between it and the EU on the future relationship between the two sides, particularly in relation to trade. If you thought the talks on the withdrawal agreement were complicated, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

“UK election result: What the Tory win means for Brexit and Ireland,” by Cliff Taylor 


“Brussels to ‘rebuild’ its relations with London”

Le Monde, France

The New European Commissioner [for the Internal Market and Services], Thierry Breton, stressed on Friday morning that Brussels was to ‘rebuild’ its relations with London, especially its business sector, after Boris Johnson’s victory in the General Election which will likely lead to Brexit in late January. At a summit in the European capital, Europe’s leaders must instruct Michel Barnier to negotiate a close commercial relationship with the United Kingdom following its departure from [the EU.]

Le Monde’s rolling election live-blog


“The question is whether ‘BoJo’ will gently close the door”

Gazeta, Poland

One thing is certain. If anyone still hoped that the Brexit process would be stopped, it is time to abandon it … On January 31, 2020, Boris Johnson will do what he promised his voters in the election campaign.

The question is whether ‘BoJo’ will gently close the door behind him or just slam it shut.

“Let’s not delude ourselves. Brexit is a surety. Boris Johnson will close the door behind him or slam it shut” (“Nie łudźmy się. Brexit jest pewny. Boris Johnson zamknie za sobą drzwi lub je zatrzaśnie”), by Daniel Maikowski


“Some new faces”

Times of India 

Indian-origin candidates across both the Conservative and Labour parties registered strong results in the UK’s general election, with around a dozen MPs retaining their seats alongside some new faces…

Indian-origin candidates register strong result in UK general election 


“A ‘powerful new mandate'”

Sydney Morning Herald

Britain will leave the European Union within weeks after Prime Minister Boris Johnson engineered a thumping election win that has reshaped the political landscape and triggered a civil war inside Labour following the demise of its polarising leader Jeremy Corbyn. Propelled to victory by a young Australian political operative who also played a crucial role in the surprise re-election of Prime Minister Scott Morrison in May, Johnson hailed the result as a ‘powerful new mandate’ to finalise Brexit and re-establish Britain’s international reputation following years of political paralysis in Westminster.

“Britain will leave EU after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s thumping election win,” by Bevan Shields


“The bombastic showman”

Washington Post

Johnson and the Conservatives ran as populists, offering not only Brexit, but also a spending surge for cops, nurses, schools and elder care. One of their strategies was to try to break through Labour’s “red wall” of traditional support among the working classes in faded industrial towns in England’s north and Midlands. Johnson — the bombastic showman who led the campaign to leave the European Union in the June 2016 referendum — is now positioned to be the prime minister to see Britain set sail from Europe next month.

“U.K. election: Boris Johnson wins majority, while Jeremy Corbyn says he won’t lead another general election campaign,” by William Booth, Karla Adam and James McAuley 

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