Brazilian Democratic Movement

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Brazilian Democratic Movement
Movimento Democratico Brasileiro
Founded 1965
Dissolved 20 December 1979
Preceded by Brazilian Labour Party,
Social Democratic Party (partly)
Succeeded by Brazilian Democratic Movement Party
Ideology Big tent

The Brazilian Democratic Movement (Portuguese: Movimento Democrático Brasileiro, MDB) was a political party in Brazil that existed from 1965 to 1979. It was formed in 1965, when the military government that overthrew President João Goulart abolished all existing political parties. The new electoral rules were so restrictive as to permit the existence of only two parties—the pro-government National Renewal Alliance Party (ARENA) and the opposition MDB.

The MDB became a big tent for politicians who opposed the military regime, bringing in members from many of the former political parties. The bulk of its membership came from the former Brazilian Labour Party and the left wing of the Social Democratic Party. The MDB lacked a unified political position, being an umbrella organisation that harboured centrists, liberals, leftists, and right-leaning opponents of the right-wing military government.

At first, the MDB did not have real power in the ARENA-dominated Congress, and as such boycotted the indirect presidential elections. However, in the elections of 1974 it took almost enough seats to gain a majority. As a result, the military government passed legislation restricting the power of the opposition, and even annulled the election of certain MDB Congressmen.

The MDB participated in the indirect presidential elections of 1974 and 1978 with two "anti-candidates", Ulysses Guimarães and General Euler Bentes Monteiro. The MDB used these campaigns to gain the attention of the global media, and denounce the "democratic" facade of the Brazilian dictatorship.

In 1979, in what may have been a concession to reality—or an attempt to split the opposition—the military government allowed the formation of new parties. In 20 December 1979 MDB and ARENA were dissolved with the signing of a new Political Parties Law. The bulk of the MDB became the Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement.[1]


  1. ^ Political Parties Law (in portuguese)