Brazil Table of Contents
A manifesto signed by three governors, ten senators, and sixty federal deputies in December 1984 officially launched the center-right Liberal Front Party (Partido da Frente Liberal--PFL). In the January 15, 1985, electoral college, the PMDB-Liberal Front-PDS ticket of Tancredo Neves and Josť Sarney received the votes of 102 federal deputies, fifteen senators, and fifty-one delegates still nominally affiliated with the PDS. In 1985 the PFL became the second largest party in Congress. It received a mere 8.8 percent of the votes in the municipal elections of November 1985, but when Sarney was able to reform the cabinet inherited from Tancredo Neves in February 1986, the PFL received six ministries. In 1992 the PFL elected nearly 1,000 mayors, second only to the PMDB.
Although the PFL is noted for its neoliberal ideology, it is always predisposed to pragmatic bargaining, such as in 1994, when it abstained from running its own presidential candidate and joined with the PSDB and PTB. Although it elected only two governors, it remained the second largest party in Congress, electing eleven senators and eighty-nine federal deputies (57 percent from the Northeast), in addition to the vice president. In Congress the PFL is known to have the most articulate and cohesive delegation, on a par with the Workers' Party. As a Cardoso coalition partner, the PFL received three ministries in 1995. It became the first-ranked party in 1997.
The Brazilian Labor Party (Partido Trabalhista Brasileiro--PTB), a pre-1964 leftist party, was resurrected as center-rightist in 1980. Two factions--one led by Leonel Brizola and the other led by Ivette Vargas--vied for leadership of the PTB. Although twenty of the twenty-three federal deputies who originally joined the PTB were brizolistas , Ivette Vargas was allied with General Golbery do Couto e Silva, chief of Ernesto Geisel's Civil Household of the Presidency, who pressured the TSE (Superior Electoral Court) to give the label to Vargas's pro-government faction in May 1980.
The PTB elected thirteen deputies in 1982 and became the junior member in a coalition with the PDS to give the latter a majority in the Chamber of Deputies. In 1986 the PTB elected seventeen federal deputies, and in 1990 it elected two governors, four senators, and thirty-eight federal deputies. The party became a convenient election vehicle for politicians without space in the larger parties.
In 1994 the PTB formed a coalition with the PFL and PSDB in support of Cardoso's candidacy. In that election, the PTB elected one governor, three senators, and thirty-one federal deputies--a slightly worse record than in 1990. In 1995 the PTB remained loyal to its coalition with the PSDB and PFL in support of the Cardoso government and occupied two ministries.
Data as of April 1997