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Most of the initial attention on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and the 2018 elections focus analysis on the underlying economic and political conditions that gave rise to an “outsider” and “law and order” presidential candidate in a “change” election. This approach is necessary but insufficient to understand the conservative-nationalist movement that propelled Bolsonaro’s campaign and eventually produced the political realignment in congress that features greater polarization between conservative and social democratic forces as well as the projection of the PSL as the dominate conservative political organization in the country. A full explanation requires a closer examination of the president’s party and its role in fueling the Bolsonaro bandwagon and providing national leadership to the insurgent conservative-nationalist movement.  How did the PSL grow so quickly?  How will the party organize itself as the political anchor of the Bolsonaro government in Congress as well as the leadership of the conservative-nationalist movement? Will the PSL outlast the president’s popularity and move on to recast Brazilian democracy in the years to come. Download our working paper here.

Download our working paper Here.


click on our recent articles at the London School of Economics and Political Science Latin America and Caribbean blog below.