As Brazil gears up for its most contested election since democratization, pre-candidates are clamoring for endorsements. But one particular group is being courted for its sizeable influence: the Evangelicals.
As a demographic, they’re one of the fastest-growing groups in Brazil, cutting into the world’s biggest Catholic population. However, Evangelical representation in Congress and the Senate means their influence over policy turns a political endorsement into coveted election currency.
In 1940, 95 percent of Brazilians declared themselves Catholic – and while there are still more Catholics in Brazil than anywhere else in the world in straight numbers, they had fallen to 60 percent by 2014. Meanwhile, Evangelical Christians, who made up just 4 percent of the population in 1970, represented one-quarter of the population according to the last census.
But the Evangelical bloc has its own election aims. At present, it has 93 members in the Lower House. With 25 political parties represented in parliament, but none taking up more than 11.5 percent of the seats, the Evangelical bloc’s 15 percent of the chamber means it currently has the largest united front within the Lower House.