You say you want a revolution: the ‘Lower Clergy’ in Brazil’s Congress

lower clergy impeachment dilma rousseff
Congressmen throw confetti during impeachment proceedings in 2016

Bandied around constantly over the last few years, “renewal” is the buzzword of choice in the current moment of Brazilian politics. It connotes an influx of new blood into the legislature and executive branches, and the doing away with velha política—”old politics,” seen as corrupt to its very core.

Last year’s general elections brought a new set to fresh faces to Brasília. Jair Bolsonaro was elected president, breaking with the dichotomy of the once popular Workers’ Party and the well-heeled “business-friendly” Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB). In the House of Representatives, 47...

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