Lula’s party turns 40 in midlife crisis

Lula at the Workers' Party's 40th anniversary
Lula at the Workers’ Party’s 40th anniversary. Photos: Cláudio Kbene/PT

It has been 40 years since former trade-union leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva founded the Workers’ Party, the most successful Brazilian political group in recent democratic history. It is hard to overstate the importance of the party to Brazilian politics—of the country’s eight democratic presidential elections since the end of the military dictatorship, the Workers’ Party won half of them, and was the runner-up in all the rest. It ruled Latin America’s biggest country during its most prosperous decade—but it also oversaw failed economic policies that helped push Brazil into its worst recession on record.

For many, the...

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