National Renewal Alliance

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National Renewal Alliance
Founded 1965
Dissolved 1979
Merger of PTB, PSD, UDN
Succeeded by Democratic Social Party
Ideology Brazilian nationalism
Liberal conservatism
Political position Right-wing
Politics of Brazil
Political parties

The National Renewal Alliance or Aliança Renovadora Nacional (ARENA) was a conservative political party that existed in Brazil between 1966 and 1979. It was the official party of the military that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985.

Up to 1965, there were three main parties in Brazil: the left-wing populist Brazilian Labour Party (PTB), the liberal Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the conservative National Democratic Union (UDN). In 1964, the government of President João Goulart was overthrown by a military coup d'etat, but in contrast to other Latin American dictatorships, the Brazilian military-controlled government did not abolish Congress. Instead, in 1965, the government banned all existing political parties and created a two-party system. ARENA, the pro-government party, was formed by politicians from the bulk of the UDN and the right wing of the PSD, while the left wing of the PSD and most of the PTB formed the Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB), the opposition.

ARENA was a docile instrument of the military to rubber-stamp its agenda. Most agree that, at first, the MDB did not have any chance to pass or block any legislation. During most of the early part of the military regime, Brazil was, for all intents and purposes, a one-party state. In the legislative elections of 1966 and 1970, ARENA won a vast majority of the seats, but in the election of 1974, MDB took many more seats than expected and almost gained a majority. The government reacted by passing legislation restricting the power of the opposition, and even succeeded in annulling the mandates of some Congressmen of the MDB.

In 1979, in a manoeuvre to divide the opposition, the government ended the bipartisan party system, and the ARENA became the Democratic Social Party (PDS).