2022 Race

Social democrat primaries debacle gets even worse

psdb primaries
PSDB leaders during primaries event on Sunday. Photo: PSDB

It appears that the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) is hell-bent on adding insult to its self-inflicted injuries after failing to organize its presidential primaries over the weekend. The center-right party had commissioned a tailor-made voting app for the primaries on Sunday, but the software encountered a glitch and only allowed less than 10 percent of registered members to cast their votes. On Wednesday, the party ran tests on a new app … which failed miserably once more.

The two frontrunners in the dispute, governors João Doria (São Paulo) and Eduardo Leite (Rio Grande do Sul), have already traded accusations of vote tampering, and now the courts have stepped in. The Superior Electoral Court gave the PSDB 10 days to explain what went wrong on Sunday and how it will rectify its electoral process. 

The decision comes after one party member filed a lawsuit requesting the primaries to be suspended until all issues with electronic voting are resolved.

In the 1990s, the PSDB won two presidential elections by landslides and consolidated itself as the main force to the right of Brazil’s center in Brazil. But with the surge of the center-left Workers’ Party — which won the next four presidential races — the party veered even more to the right and lost its political capital, finishing the 2018 election with an embarrassing 5 percent of votes.

The primaries were supposed to breathe new life into the PSDB. But they have instead laid bare the party’s inability to rally around a common goal.