Brazilian general election, 1950

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Brazilian presidential election, 1950
← 1945 October 3, 1950 (1950-10-03) 1955 →
  Getulio.gif Eduardo-Gomes 1960s.jpg
Candidate Getúlio Vargas Eduardo Gomes
Home state Rio Grande do Sul Rio de Janeiro
Popular vote 3,849,040 2,342,384
Percentage 48.7% 29.7%

President before election

Eurico Gaspar Dutra

Elected President

Getúlio Vargas

Coat of arms of Brazil.svg
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General elections were held in Brazil on 3 October 1950.[1] The presidential elections were won by Getúlio Vargas of the Brazilian Labour Party, whilst the Social Democratic Party remained the largest party in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, although they lost their majority in the former. Voter turnout was 72.1% in the presidential election, 72.0% in the Chamber elections and 77.7% in the Senate elections.[2]


After living in self-imposed exile in his Riograndense ranch between his overthrow in 1945 and 1950, former President Getúlio Vargas, who had alreadby been elected a Senator in 1945, decided to run for the Presidency, as the candidate of the Brazilian Labor Party (PTB), one of the two he founded after he decided to put an end to his 15-year dictatorship. Vargas, although in exile, remained active on the sidelines of Brazilian politics during the Presidency of his former War Minister, Eurico Gaspar Dutra. He notably criticized his successor's economic policies, taking a hard nationalist and populist tone which appealed to the base of the PTB, organized labour.

In April 1950, the Social Democratic Party, also pro-Vargas but based more around industrialists and state political machines, rejected the idea of forming a coalition with the PTB or the UDN and decided to run its own candidate. They nominated Cristiano Machado, a little-known congressman for Minas Gerais.

However, Vargas was able to forge an alliance with a number of PSD state leaders, notably in his own state of Rio Grande do Sul and in Rio de Janeiro. In Pernambuco, he even forged an alliance with his traditional rivals, the UDN. This phenomenon - to nominate a candidate and support another - became known as "cristianization" in Brazil. In the state of São Paulo, he forged an alliance with Adhemar de Barros' Social Progressive Party (PSP), a populist electoral machine who dominated state politics. The PSP was the only other party to officially endorse him, and provided him with his running-mate (who was separately elected), João Café Filho. Vargas also assured himself of the support, or at least approval, of the military which had deposed him in 1945. He reconciled himself with the dominant figure of the military then, Góes Monteiro, who had played a role in his 1945 overthrow.[3]

The right-wing National Democratic Union (UDN), noted for its radical anti-Vargas posture, once again nominated Eduardo Gomes as its candidate. The party proved woefully unable to expand its narrow electoral base, and not even the anti-Vargas rhetoric of 1945 could deliver more votes. The UDN and Gomes also proved their little comprehension of the evolving Brazilian political scene by supporting abolishing the minimum wage instituted in Vargas' past administration.[4]

During the Eurico Gaspar Dutra administration, the Brazilian Communist Party had its license revoked by the Supreme Electoral Court in the context of the early Cold War. Communists oriented their followers not to vote, but a significant share of them voted on Vargas.

Presidential candidates[edit]



Vargas won a convincing victory, with 48.7% of the vote and close to an absolute majority of votes cast. Despite the UDN's claim that he was not constitutionally elected (they claimed that a candidate needed an absolute majority of the votes), Vargas was inaugurated President in January 1951.[5]

Candidate Party Votes %
Getúlio Vargas Brazilian Labour Party 3,849,040 48.7
Eduardo Gomes National Democratic Union 2,342,384 29.7
Cristiano Machado Social Democratic Party (Brazil) 1,697,193 21.5
João Mangabeira Brazilian Socialist Party 9,466 0.1
Invalid/blank votes 356,906
Total 8,254,989 100
Registered voters/turnout 11,455,149 72.1
Source: Nohlen


Candidate Party Votes %
Café Filho PSP-PTB 2,520,790 35.76
Odilon Braga National Democratic Union 2,344,831 33.26
Altino Arantes Republican Party 1,720,354 24.40
Vitorino Freire Social Labour Party 453,134 6.43
Alípio Correia Neto Brazilian Socialist Party 10,800 0.15
Total 7,049,909 100

Chamber of Deputies[edit]

Party Votes % Seats
Social Democratic Party 2,068,405 27.0 112
National Democratic Union 1,301,489 17.0 81
Brazilian Labour Party 1,262,000 16.5 51
Social Progressive Party 558,792 7.3 24
PSD-PRP-PST 245,543 3.2
UDN-PR-PSP-PDC-PSB 240,537 3.1
Republican Party 216,207 2.8 11
National Labor Party 211,090 2.8 5
UDN-PR-PRP-PDC-PTB-PL 176,432 2.3
Social Labour Party 163,341 2.1 9
PSD-PL 144,024 1.9
UDN-PST 103,368 1.3
UDN-PR 110,733 1.4
PSD-PR-PSP 94,630 1.2
UDN-PSP-PL-PST 86,326 1.1
PTB-PSP 84,467 1.1
UDN-PR-PST-PRP-PL 83,530 1.1
Labour Republican Party 73,501 1.0 1
Party of Popular Representation 72,397 0.9 2
UDN-PSD-PR-PL-PSP-PTB 67,983 0.9
Christian Democratic Party 56,965 0.7 2
Liberator Party 55,338 0.7 5
Brazilian Socialist Party 36,638 0.5 1
Others 148,477 1.9 0
Invalid/blank votes 578,783
Total 8,240,996 100 304
Registered voters/turnout 11,445,149 72.0
Source: Nohlen


Party Votes % Seats
Social Democratic Party 1,204,349 15.4 6
Brazilian Labour Party 814,796 10.5 5
National Democratic Union 749,989 9.6 4
Republican Party 566,520 7.3 2
Social Progressive Party 524,261 6.7 3
Party of Popular Representation 244,769 3.1 0
Social Labour Party 126,437 1.6 1
Liberator Party 88,614 1.1 0
Labour-Guiding Party 56,180 0.7 0
Labour Republican Party 46,325 0.6 0
Brazilian Socialist Party 15,458 0.2 1
Others 3,358,438 43.1 0
Invalid/blank votes 1,084,313
Total 8,880,449 100 22
Registered voters/turnout 11,427,441 77.7
Source: Nohlen


  1. ^ Nohlen, D (2005) Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume II, p173 ISBN 978-0-19-928358-3
  2. ^ Nohlen, pp191-232
  3. ^ Skidmore, TE: Politics in Brazil: 1930-1964, page 75. Oxford University Press, 2007.
  4. ^ Skidmore, TE: Politics in Brazil: 1930-1964, page 77. Oxford University Press, 2007.
  5. ^ Skidmore, TE: Politics in Brazil: 1930-1964, page 101. Oxford University Press, 2007.

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