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The Brazilian Democratic Movement Party

 
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Brazilian Democratic Movement Party



Brazilian Democratic Movement Party
The Brazilian Democratic Movement (Movimento Democrático Brasileiro--MDB), the political opposition to the military regime, began mobilizing national support in the late 1970s. Like the PTB (Brazilian Labor Party) in the early 1960s, the MDB was on the verge of becoming a mass political party when Congress dissolved it in 1979. The party president, Deputy Ulysses Guimarães, convinced the party to "add a P to the MDB" to preserve the hard-fought opposition image.

The Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro--PMDB) won nine governorships in 1982 and elected Tancredo Neves in the electoral college of January 1985 in alliance with the PFL. The centrist PMDB advanced to become the "catch-all, rainbow" party, electing a majority to the ANC (National Constituent Assembly), and all but one governor in 1986. Overloaded with joiners (many of whom migrated from the Arena/PDS), the PMDB acquired a more conservative profile, provided a base for the Big Center in the ANC, and projected an image of close collaboration with the Sarney government. These tendencies provoked the exodus of the more progressive members, such as the PSDB, in 1988. The party was less successful in the congressional and gubernatorial elections in 1988 and 1990, but made a slight comeback in the 1992 municipal elections.

In 1994 the PMDB's presidential candidate, former governor Orestes Quêrcia, placed fourth. Nevertheless, the PMDB managed to elect nine governors and remained the largest party in Congress, electing fourteen senators and 107 federal deputies. The PMDB had two important ministries (transport and justice), plus the Secretariat of Regional Development (now subordinate to the Ministry of Planning) in the Cardoso government. With the defeat of Quêrcia and the loss of São Paulo State, the party has no coherent national leadership, and the support of its sizable congressional delegation is uncertain. In 1997 the PMDB became the second largest party in Congress, losing its first-rank position to the PFL.

Data as of April 1997



 



 


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