Brazilian Social Democracy Party
|Founded||25 June 1988|
|Split from||Brazilian Democratic Movement Party|
|Headquarters||SGAS Q.607,Ed. Metrópolis, Mód. B Cobertura 2- AsaSul|
|Youth wing||Juventude PSDB|
Centre to centre-right
Centre to centre-left
|National affiliation||Change Brazil|
|International affiliation||Centrist Democrat International (Observer)|
|Regional affiliation||Christian Democrat Organization of America (observer)|
|TSE Identification Number||45|
|Seats in the Chamber of Deputies|
29 / 513
|Seats in the Federal Senate|
8 / 81
4 / 27
73 / 1,059
793 / 5,566
The Brazilian Social Democracy Party (Portuguese: Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira, PSDB), also known as the Brazilian Social Democratic Party or the Party of Brazilian Social Democracy, is a political party in Brazil. As the third largest party in the National Congress, the PSDB was the main opposition party against the Workers' Party (PT) administrations of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff from 2003 to 2016.
Born together as part of the social democratic opposition to the military dictatorship from the late 1970s through the 1980s, the PSDB and the PT have since the mid-1990s been the bitterest of rivals in current Brazilian politics—both parties prohibit any kind of coalition or official cooperation with each other at any government levels. Its mascot is a blue and yellow colored toucan, with party members being called tucanos for this reason. Famous tucanos include Mário Covas, Geraldo Alckmin, Tasso Jereissati, Aécio Neves, former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Franco Montoro, Aloysio Nunes, Yeda Crusius, João Doria and José Serra.
With the imminent collapse of the military dictatorship in the early 1980s, a group of left-wing intellectuals were mobilized to create a leftist party. Some of them attempted to work with the labour movement led by Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, but the group split over ideological grounds. A group of democratic socialists and Trotskyists joined the labour movement and founded the Workers' Party (PT) while the social democrats remained in the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) and would later create the Brazilian Social Democracy Party. Founded on 25 June 1988 by members of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) linked to the European social democratic movement as an attempt to clarify their ideals, its manifesto preached "democracy as a fundamental value" and "social justice as an aim to be reached". In its foundation, the party attempted to unite political groups as diverse as social democrats, social liberals, Christian democrats and democratic socialists. The period when the PSDB was created was a very significant moment in the history of Brazilian politics.
On 21 April 1985, the Brazilian people witnessed the death of Tancredo Neves, the last President not elected directly by the people since the beginning of the dictatorial government. With the formation of new parties, including the PSDB, a National Constitutional Assembly was created and drafted the current democratic constitution in 1988. A high proportion of the first members of the PSDB came from the so-called "historic PMDB", which was and still is a very large party with many internal conflicts. The founders of the PSDB were dissatisfied with the results of the National Constitutional Assembly and decided to create a party to reflect the need for a national political renewal. As their manifesto states, the new party was created "away from the official benefits, but close to the pulsing of the streets" (taken from a speech by party leader Franco Montoro). Some of the founding members were José Serra, Mário Covas, André Franco Montoro, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Aécio Neves and Geraldo Alckmin.
In a country where two constitutional referendum, held in 1963 and in 1993, have shown a very strong preference for a presidential system of government as in most countries of the Americas, the PSDB stands almost alone in the preference given in its manifesto to a parliamentarian system of government. However, after the electors rejected parliamentarism in 1993 and even though the PSDB leader Cardoso was elected President the next year, the party did nothing in the last years to further the cause of a parliamentarian system.
The PSDB is one of the largest and most significant political parties in Brazil. Its official program says its policies are social democratic and often associated with the Third Way movement, although the party is also seen as influenced by neoliberalism. The party's program states that it "reject[s] populism and authoritarianism, as well as both fundamentalist neoliberalism and obsolete national-statism".
Despite its name, the PSDB is not a member of the Socialist International which draws together social democratic parties worldwide (the Brazilian member of the Socialist International is the Democratic Labour Party, PDT). The party has not and has never had the links to trade union movements that usually characterize social democratic parties and it used to sponsor a central union, the Social-Democracia Sindical (SDS), which has now merged with the Central Autônoma dos Trabalhadores (CAT) and the much more important Central Geral dos Trabalhadores (CGT) into the União Geral dos Trabalhadores (UGT), but its impact among the unions has always been quite unimpressive compared to even much smaller parties as the PDT or the Communist Party of Brazil, or to the tucanos's own influence in society at large.
A mere six years after its creation, the PSDB won the presidency. It grew faster than any other party in Brazilian history, with an astonishingly good performance in elections at all levels. President Cardoso enjoyed eight years (1994–2002) of political stability in his tenure as President. Accordingly, a good summary of the PSDB's stated program is the following:
- Constant defense of democracy
- The state at a minimally needed size
- Administrative decentralization
- Sustainable economic growth with wealth distribution
- Political reform to make stronger parties with electoral districts accountable representatives as well as aiming to reduce and eliminate corruption
Ranking of corruption
Based on data released by the Superior Electoral Court, the Movement to Combat Electoral Corruption released a balance on 4 October 2007 with the parties that include the largest number of parliamentarians quashed by electoral corruption since 2000. The PSDB appeared in third place on the list with 58 cases, behind only the Democrats and the PMDB.
According to analysis released on 8 September 2012, of 317 Brazilian politicians who were barred from running in elections by the Clean Record Act the PSDB is the party that has the largest number of barred candidates with 56 party members.
A Privataria Tucana
The 2011 book A Privataria Tucana written by journalist Amaury Ribeiro Jr., a former special reporter of weekly magazine ISTOÉ and daily newspaper O Globo, highlighted documents that show supposed irregularities in privatizations that occurred during the administration of the former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. It contains about 140 pages of photocopied documents trying to demonstrate that President Cardoso's Minister of Planning and later Minister of Health José Serra received kickbacks from businessmen that participated in the Brazilian privatization process, held companies in tax shelters and moved millions of dollars between 1993 and 2003.
Although the PSDB declares itself as a centrist party, some people on the left reject this definition, especially after Fernando Henrique Cardoso embraced Third Way politics as President. According to many critics, the party is seen as neoliberal from its beginnings. Luiz Carlos Bresser-Pereira, one of the founders of the PSDB, left the party for ideological reasons, claiming "that the party had taken a hard turn to the right".
In an article titled "The left-right confusion in the post-Berlin Wall world", political analyst Angelo Segrillo says that "most analysts defined PSDB as center-left as of its foundation, after all, it was the Brazilian Social Democratic Party". As he notes, "this story changed after 1994, with the election of PSDB to the presidency. [...] A rhetoric of overcoming classical ideological division [...] was one of the justifications of the grand parliamentary alliance with center and right-wing parties. [...] As such, after the 1994 presidential election, most analysts started defining PSDB as a center party along with PMDB". In its 2009 report about Freedom in the World, Freedom House defined the opposition coalition (formed by PSDB, PPS and Democrats) as a "center-right coalition". However, in the 2010 report of the same organization PSDB was defined as a "center-left" party.
Workers' Party campaign leader Marco Aurélio Garcia criticized declarations made by PSDB president Sérgio Guerra that PSDB is "the real left". He said that "PSDB is not a right wing party, it is the right wing's party".
The PSDB questions the use of what it considers "outdated political labels" such as "left" and "right". To quote a document drafted by Fernando Henrique Cardoso's office in 1990: "If left means to be against the existing social order, and right in favor, then social-democracy is without doubt a left current. [...] A social democrat is before anything someone who has critical sense—who realizes the injustices of society and has no fear to oppose them, even at the risk of being taken as a subversive or a dreamer".
The party did not preach nationalisation or privatisation in general ("the consensus is that the state must not be too big or too small, but 'have the size and functions corresponding to the needs of the whole of society'"), although President Cardoso privatized many large public companies, such as Companhia Vale do Rio Doce and the national telecommunication system. Many political scientists in Brazil believed that the party in its antagonism with the PT made a move to the right in recent years to fulfill a void in the Brazilian political spectrum and to put a certain distance between it and the PT's political views, which also moved more to the right (from the far-left or left to the centre-left) in the 1990s in order to be elected.
The main electoral base of the party is the State of São Paulo. The party triumphed in all but three major elections to executive chairs in new republic in the state. The party also has a stronghold in other regions which reject the PT, like the Espirito Santo, southern and mid-western states. Unlike the PT, the party have less rejection in areas which often votes the PT in national elections, like the North and Northeastern regions and Minas Gerais. Many leaders of the party come from these regions, like Tasso Jereisatti, Aécio Neves, Teotonio Vilela Filho, Cassio Cunha Lima, Sergio Guerra and Simão Jatene. However, the party has not succeeded in transforming this into results in presidential elections, partly because of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's charisma and partly because of internal infighting.
Most of rejection of the party comes from the State of Rio de Janeiro, where the protagonism of the party in the Brazilian centre and centre-right is often lost to PMDB and another parties with less national representation, like the Brazilian Republican Party, the Democrats, Progressistas and the Social Christian Party. The only victory of the party in Rio happened in 1994, when the state gave the majority of votes for FHC in presidential election and the toucans Artur da Tavola and Marcelo Alencar were elected to the senate and state governorship, respectively. PT is also strong rejected in Rio; However, less than PSDB.
Despite being considered a centre-left party by their own members, media and by the Brazilian right, the PSDB has little or no appeal to the majority of Brazilian left. The majority of support and bases of tucanos comes from right-wing sectors like conservative Christians, professionals, the middle and upper middle class, farmers, landowners and business owners. Reasons for this support are from the more softcore rhetoric and ideology of the party compared with the PT, the major economic reforms which the party led in the 1990s and the major influence of the Democrats in the party.
This support is not seen with good eyes inside the "old guard" of the party. Many tucanos often publicly express their discomfort with the party. Even Cardoso, the main member of the party's history, constantly criticises such figures as Colonel Telhada, a former police officer who was elected a deputy in São Paulo with proposals such as reducing the age of defense of infancy, harsher penalties for criminals and appealing to the evangelical churches, of which he is a member; and João Dória Junior, mayor of São Paulo between 2016 and 2018 and governor of the state of São Paulo from 2019. Dória is often accused of populism, demagoguery, opportunism, personalism, self-promotion, market fundamentalism and aggressive exploitation of anti-Workers' Party sentiment within the populace. These antagonisms between the voter base together with the new members who joined the party based on right-wing sentiment of opposition of Workers' Party against the party elite and old members, with more left-liberal, progressive, social democratic and pragmatic views is seen as an important factor to the often internal rifts between tucanos.
In 2017, a group of new, young federal representatives, nicknamed "black heads", in reference to their youth, contrasting with a visible gray or bald head of older and progressive members, began to gain prominence in the party. This wing, made up of members in their 30s or less, shows a strong opposition to the continued support of the party to the government of President Michel Temer and a far more support to economic liberalism than the old party members like José Serra and Aloysio Nunes. Black heads now occupies important positions inside the party and with support of the base and social movements like the Free Brazil Movement have conditions to push the party more to the right-wing of the Brazilian political spectrum
In the 2018 general election, the party suffered the greatest defeat in the history as Geraldo Alckmin got only the 4th position in the presidential election with less than 5% of votes and the party fell to the 10th in number of representatives in the Chamber of Deputies, with less representatives than the Democrats. The reasons for it was the corruptions scandals of Aécio Neves, the support to the government of Michel Temer by the party, lack of charisma and wrong strategies of Alckmin in presidential campaign, which choose to attack the right-wing populist candidate Jair Bolsonaro by a progressive viewpoint instead of attacking the traditional rival PT, a continuous domain of old leftist leaders instead of new and more liberal members with more connection with voter base over the party. They support Bolsonaro and his Social Liberal Party smashed the voter base of the party. The PSDB went to runoff in three of the four biggest states, namely São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio Grande do Sul, all of them with more pro-free market and centre-right views than Alckmin. PSDB triumphed in São Paulo with João Doria Junior, Rio Grande do Sul with Eduardo Leite and in the agrarian state of Mato Grosso do Sul with Reinaldo Azambuja, also a centre-right candidate.
List of party presidents
|Provisory Committee||1988||1989||Alternation between Franco Montoro, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Mário Covas, José Richa and Pimenta da Veiga|
|Franco Montoro||1989||September 1, 1991||1st|
|Pimenta da Veiga||1994||1995|
|Artur da Távola||1995||1996|||
|Teotônio Vilela Filho||1996||1998|
|1999||May 19, 2001|
|José Aníbal||May 19, 2001||2003|
|Eduardo Azeredo||January, 2005||October, 2005||Resigned the office |
|José Serra||October, 2005||November, 2005||Provisory president|
|Tasso Jereissati||November, 2005||November 23, 2007|
|Sérgio Guerra||November 23, 2007||2009|
|2009||May 28, 2011|
|May 28, 2011||May 18, 2013|
|Aécio Neves||May 18, 2013||July 5, 2015 |||
|July 5, 2015||December 9, 2017|
|Geraldo Alckmin||December 9, 2017||May 31, 2019|
|Bruno Araújo||May 31, 2019||Incumbent|
|Franco Montoro||1994||1995||Dead in 1999|
|Fernando Henrique Cardoso||2001||2003|
- Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former President of Brazil
- Aécio Neves, party president and senator for Minas Gerais
- Geraldo Alckmin, governor of São Paulo
- José Serra, senator by São Paulo, former Minister of Health and Minister of Foreign Relations
- João Doria Junior, mayor of São Paulo
- Aloysio Nunes, senator for São Paulo
- Cássio Cunha Lima, party leader in the Federal Senate and senator for Paraíba
- Antonio Imbassahy, party leader in the Chamber of Deputies and deputy for Bahia
- Beto Richa, governor of Paraná
- Simão Jatene, governor of Pará
- Marconi Perillo, governor of Goiás
- Pedro Taques, governor of Mato Grosso
- Reinaldo Azambuja, governor of Mato Grosso do Sul
- Arthur Virgílio Neto, mayor of Manaus, Amazonas
- Zenaldo Coutinho, mayor of Belém, Pará
- Rui Palmeira, mayor of Maceió, Alagoas
- Firmino Filho, mayor of Teresina, Piauí
- Yeda Crusius, former governor of Rio Grande do Sul
|Year||Candidate||First round||Second round||Role|
|Votes||Vote %||Votes||Vote %|
|1989||Mário Covas||7,786,939||11.5% (4th)||In opposition|
|1994||Fernando Henrique Cardoso||34,362,726||54.3 (1st)||In government coalition|
|1998||Fernando Henrique Cardoso||35,922,692||53.1 (1st)||In government coalition|
|2002||José Serra||19,694,843||23.2 (2nd)||33,356,860||38.7 (2nd)||In opposition|
|2006||Geraldo Alckmin||39,968,369||41.6 (2nd)||37,543,178||39.2 (2nd)||In opposition|
|2010||José Serra||33,132,283||32.6 (2nd)||43,711,388||44.0 (2nd)||In opposition|
|2014||Aécio Neves||34,897,211||33.6 (2nd)||51,041,155||48.4 (2nd)||In opposition|
|2018||Geraldo Alckmin||5,096,277||4.8 (4th)||In government coalition|
|Year||Votes||% votes||+/–||No. of
overall seats won
37 / 502
62 / 513
99 / 513
71 / 513
62 / 513
53 / 513
54 / 513
29 / 513
|Year||Votes||% votes||+/–||No. of
overall seats won
1 / 31
14 / 81
16 / 81
16 / 81
11 / 81
10 / 81
8 / 81
- "Estatísticas do eleitorado – Eleitores filiados".
- "Artigo: Por uma Social Democracia contemporânea" Archived 2017-08-03 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Programa" (PDF).
- 'O novo PSDB assume sua bandeira liberal', diz pupilo de Dзria - Politica - Estado de Minas
- Direita ou esquerda? Análise de votações indica posição de partidos brasileiros no espectro ideológico - BBC News Brasil.
- "Estatuto" (PDF).
- "PSDB Esquerda pra valer".
- "Millionaire Doria of centrist PSDB party wins mayor's race in Sao Paulo". Reuters. 3 October 2016.
- Wylie, Kristin (2018). Party Institutionalization and Women's Representation in Democratic Brazil. Cambridge University Press. p. 166.
- "Adeus à política partidária". folha.uol.com.br (in Portuguese). 18 May 2011..
- "PSDB: de progressista a conservador". Jornal do Brasil (in Portuguese). 28 July 2015. Archived from the original on 27 August 2017. Retrieved 26 February 2020..
- "Exclusive: Brazil opposition leader will seek economic reforms". Reuters. 1 November 2010.
- "Has Brazil voted for continuity?". BBC News. 31 October 2010.
- Foley, Conor (4 February 2009). "Looking for Lula's successor". The Guardian. London.
- Philips, Tom (5 March 2010). "Working class hero". The Guardian. London.
- "Page not found" Archived 2010-11-28 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Freedom in the World 2010".
- "Exclusive: Brazil opposition leader will seek economic reforms".
- "Has Brazil voted for continuity?".
- "Doria: 'PSDB deixa de ser partido de centro-esquerda para ser de centro'". Veja.
- "Looking for Lula's successor". The Guardian.
The irony is that PT and PSDB are both recognisable centre-left parties whose leaders have far more in common with one another than with the other political parties that they have relied upon to form governing coalitions.
- Mainwaring, Scott; Meneguello, Rachel; Power, Timothy J. (2000), "Conservative Parties in Brazil", Conservative Parties, the Right, and Democracy in Latin America, Johns Hopkins University Press, p. 178.
- Goldman, Alberto (18 May 2001). "Declaração Programática do Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (Documento preliminar para discussão interna)" (PDF). Instituto de Iberoamérica. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
- "404 - File or directory not found" Archived 2006-10-14 at archive.today.
- "União Geral dos Trabalhadores".
- "Desde 2000, 623 políticos foram cassados. DEM lidera ranking". O Globo. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- Talita Abrantes. "PSDB tem o maior número de barrados pelo Ficha Limpa". Exame. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
- Natalia Mazotte (2 January 2012). "Brazilian political party threatens to sue journalist over book". Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. Archived from the original on 2 February 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
- A Construção da ideologia neoliberal do PSDB (PDF). ISBN 978-85-60979-08-0. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- Bresser Pereira, Luiz Carlos. "Adeus à política partidária".
- Segrillo, Angelo (2004). "A confusão esquerda-direita no mundo pós-Muro de Berlim" [The left-right confusion in the post-Berlin Wall world]. Dados (in Portuguese). 47: 615–632. doi:10.1590/S0011-52582004000300006. ISSN 0011-5258.
A maioria dos analistas classificava o PSDB na centro-esquerda quando de sua criação. [...] A estória torna-se outra após 1994, com a chegada do PSDB à presidência. Uma retórica de superação das divisões ideológicas clássicas [...] foi um dos fundamentos justificativos da grande aliança parlamentar com partidos de centro e direita [...]. Tanto que, após a eleição presidencial de 1994, a maioria dos analistas passou a classificar o PSDB como partido de centro junto com o PMDB.
- Freedom House (16 July 2009). "Freedom in the World 2009 – Brazil". UNHCR. Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2010-01-17.
In early 1994, Fernando Henrique Cardoso [...] forged a three-party, centrist coalition around his Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB).
- "Map of Freedom in the World". Freedom House. Retrieved 14 June 2010.
- "Garcia: 'PSDB não é partido de direita, é da direita'".
-  Pimenta resigned the post. Artur become the provisory president; after that, was elected president until the end of the term
- Tasso Ribeiro Jereissati | CPDOC - Centro de Pesquisa e Documentação de História Contemporânea do Brasil
- Portal de Notícias, Esporte e Entretenimento da Band
- G1 - Aécio Neves é reeleito para presidir o PSDB por mais dois anos - notícias em Política
- Licensed on May 18, 2017; Carlos Sampaio took the office as provisory president. On May 19, Tasso Jereissati become the new provisory president; Aécio returned to the office, on November 9, and appointed Alberto Goldman as provisory president to replace Jereissati
- Official website (in Portuguese)
- Official website of Institute of Political studies of the party (in Portuguese)
44 – PRP
| Numbers of Brazilian Official Political Parties
45 – BSDP (PSDB)
50 – SOLP (PSOL)