Weekly Report - 17 April 2019 (WR-19-15)

BRAZIL: Cracks show in the ruling party

It was only just over a year ago that President Jair Bolsonaro, at the time federal deputy for the Partido Social Cristão (PSC) in the Brazilian congress, switched party allegiances and adopted the Partido Social Liberal (PSL) as the vehicle for his presidential campaign. The PSL proved to be the perfect platform, conflating Bolsonaro’s national-conservative discourse with its existing liberal economic and law-and-order stance. Bolsonaro was successfully elected president, and the PSL leapt from being a ‘for hire’ fringe party to the largest one in the federal chamber of deputies, with 55 representatives now. However, the absence of established ties between party members (many of whom are serving their first term as elected politicians) and the political structure that they integrated has translated into a lack of cohesion and sometimes even confrontation – not only within the party base in congress, but also between PSL representatives and the government.

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