What is Left of the Brazilian Left?

33 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2013

Date Written: January 1, 2013


Brazil's Lula da Silva emerged in the past decade as the icon of Latin America's "responsible left.'' After three consecutive defeats, he won the 2002 presidential race in Brazil promising policies strikingly different from the Workers' Party's (PT) traditional agenda, and barely distinguishable from those promoted by his center-right opponent. This article challenges the conventional wisdom that the PT's programmatic shift to the right occurred gradually, driven by the party's desire to appeal to a broader audience and win majoritarian elections. I analyze electoral programs broadcast on TV during presidential campaigns to argue that, even though the PT had undergone institutional and electoral changes throughout the 1990s, it was only in 2002 that it effectively broke with its traditional leftist agenda. I argue that this rupture cannot be understood without reference to the confidence crisis triggered in financial markets by the anticipation of Lula's victory.

JEL Classification: Brazil, Latin America, Lula, election, convergence, Workers' Party, PT

Suggested Citation

Campello, Daniela, What is Left of the Brazilian Left? (January 1, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2243118 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2243118

Daniela Campello (Contact Author)

GetĂșlio Vargas Foundation ( email )

Praia de Botafogo 190
office 517
Rio de Janeiro, NJ Rio de Janeiro 22240070
United States
2137995809 (Phone)

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