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LATIN AMERICA | 25-11-2019 09:00

Bolsonaro launches new political party as old one implodes

At odds with the party leadership that nominated him for the presidency, Bolsonaro left the Social Liberal Party earlier this month to create his own new grouping

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro attended the launch of his new prospective political party last Thursday, although the organisation faces a long road ahead to secure official recognition by the electoral authorities.

The “Alliance for Brazil” positions itself as a hard-right political movement, with a strong conservative, religious and pro-gun agenda. Bolsonaro has outlined its objectives as the “fight against corruption” and the “promotion of Christian values.” The president has sought a new party since resigning from the Social Liberal Party, or PSL, amid a bitter feud with several of its leaders.

“To change Brazil’s destiny, I saw that I had to search for a Biblical verse, John 8:32, which says the truth shall set us free,” Bolsonaro said at an event at a hotel in Brasilia that attracted thousands of supporters, including many dissidents from the PSL. 

Brazil’s highly fragmented Congress, comprising over 20 different parties, means that party affiliation is less significant than in many other democracies. Few of the parties maintain much ideological coherence, and it’s common for lawmakers to switch in search of better opportunities for political survival or promotion. Bolsonaro himself has passed through many different parties in the course of his career.

Party bureaucracy

Since his departure from the PSL, however, the president has no party affiliation. It is likely to take some time for the Alliance for Brazil to secure full political party status. Bolsonaro and his allies need to collect 500,000 voter signatures in at least nine of 27 states and all of them must be certified by the electoral authorities. On average, it takes around eight months to register a new party in Brazil. Its supporters hope to secure approval before local elections in October 2020.

Besides the president, two of his sons also left the PSL to throw their support behind the Alliance, as did around 30 other federal deputies. As a result, the PSL has lost over half of the 53 deputies it saw elected last October, largely on the back of Bolsonaro’s popularity.

Since then, members of the party have squabbled repeatedly over government positions, access to cash and allegations of corruption. But its strong showing in the 2018 elections means it will have access to a significant amount of electoral funds ahead of next year’s vote.

Bear arms

During his speech to Alliance supporters on Thursday, Bolsonaro defended the “inalienable right to possess and bear arms” -- one of the core policies of the future party.

To underline that idea, one enthusiast unveiled a 110-pound statue that caught the attention of many at the event. It consisted of the “Alliance” party symbol, comprising around 4,000 bullet casings.

Another central policy proposal is the absolute rejection of abortion, described by the Alliance as the “deliberate murder of an innocent child.” Abortion is already illegal in Brazil, except in certain highly restricted circumstances.

Pamphlets were distributed at the event declaring the APB’s intent to find “God’s place” in Brazilian society and its commitment to spreading the truth about the crimes of revolutionary movements, such as communism, globalism and fascism.”

by Murilo Fagundes & Simone Preissler Iglesias, Bloomberg

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