Explaining Brazil #180: A new home for Bolsonaro

After much comings and goings, Bolsonaro has found a new party, in an arrangement that will help shape Brazil's political landscape for 2022 and beyond

For more than two years, President Jair Bolsonaro was a man without a political party. Elected in 2018 representing the Social Liberal Party, he quickly fell out with the group and cut ties. The plan then was to start his own far-right party, but that proved much harder than he expected.

But that presidential party inertia could not last forever. Brazilian politics does not allow for independent candidacies, and we are less than a year away from an election. This week, after much comings and goings, Bolsonaro has found a new home in an arrangement that will help shape Brazil’s political landscape for 2022 and beyond.

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  • Beatriz Rey is an SNF Agora Visiting Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and an APSA Congressional Fellow. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from Syracuse University and an M.A. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

This episode used music from Uppbeat. License codes: QRNOH58VWD1SCZVB, IJXEJCINOLQHX6FN.

Background reading:

  • The Liberal Party is perhaps an odd choice for Jair Bolsonaro, given the party’s reputation of corruption and political cronyism.
  • Episode #152 discussed why it took so long for Jair Bolsonaro to find a new political party.
  • Full of authoritarian symbolism, Jair Bolsonaro’s Alliance for Brazil party intended to shake up the status quo in Brazilian politics. It was an utter failure.
  • President Jair Bolsonaro may be using opaque (yet legal) budgetary grants to secure congressional support. But local media has struggled to explain the irregularities involved in the scandal — Beatriz Rey sets the record straight.
  • A Supreme Court justice has been accused of taking bribes in exchange for altering sentences. Though lacking in detail, the accusations may prove explosive. Accusations against a Supreme Court justice can bolster anti-democratic rhetoric.
  • The Brazilian president has a lot on his plate right now, with the resolution of the 2021 budget, a crucial climate summit, and a Senate investigation into the government’s pandemic response. Can his administration survive? Episode #148 tries to answer that question.

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