Brazilian Democratic Movement

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Brazilian Democratic Movement
Movimento Democrático Brasileiro
President Romero Jucá
Founded 4 December 1965 (original MDB)
30 June 1981 (registered as PMDB)
19 December 2017 (altered its name back to MDB)
Dissolved 20 December 1979 (original MDB)
Headquarters Câmara dos Deputados - Presidência do MDB, Ed. Principal sala T4 - Esplanada dos Ministérios
Membership 500,000[1]
Ideology Big tent[2][3]
Political position Centre[4][5] to Centre-right[5]
Colours Green, yellow, red, black
TSE Identification Number 15
Seats in the Federal Senate
23 / 81
Seats in the Chamber of Deputies
64 / 513
7 / 27
Seats in Legislative Assemblies
147 / 1,024
1,022 / 5,568
Seats in Municipal Chambers
7,825 / 56,810

The Brazilian Democratic Movement (Portuguese: Movimento Democrático Brasileiro, MDB) is a Brazilian political party.


Poster commemorating the party's 48th anniversary (2014)

Under military rule from 1965 to 1979, Brazil had a legally enforced two party system, with supporters of the regime gathered under the National Renewal Alliance Party (ARENA) umbrella, and the official opposition making up the MDB. From 1979 onwards, a restricted number of parties were allowed, and nearly all of the old MDB reorganized as PMDB (Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro; Brazilian Democratic Movement Party).

The MDB had been a big tent party uniting nearly all of the opposition to the military dictatorship. As such, it harboured elements ranging across the political spectrum. The PMDB has a similar character to its predecessor, including a range of politicians from conservatives such as José Sarney to liberals such as Pedro Simon, leftists like Roberto Requião, populists like Íris Resende, nationalists like Orestes Quércia and the former guerilla movement MR-8.

In 1985, party leader Tancredo Neves won the presidential election, but died before taking office. His running mate José Sarney, who had recently joined the party after defecting from the political wing of the military, became president, serving until 1990. He was the only president of Brazil to come from the party. In recent presidential elections the party has not run candidates of its own, preferring to focus on congressional and governatorial elections.

At the legislative elections on 6 October 2002, the party won 74 out of 513 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 19 out of 81 seats in the Senate, making it one of the biggest parties in Brazil.

The party decided not to launch a candidate for the 2006 presidential election in order to be free to make any coalition in the states. Under Brazilian electoral law, parties lhataunching presidential candidates cannot form alliances at the state level that differ from any alliances the party may join at the national level. At the congressional elections in October 2006, the PMDB won 89 of 513 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, becoming its biggest party; and in the Senate it had 15 of the 81 seats after it's one-third renovation, becoming the third-largest party. The PMDB also won seven state gubernatorial elections in the same election.

In 2010 the party made gains in the Senate, winning 16 of the elected seats for a total of 20. It was somewhat weakened in other elections, winning 79 seats in the Chamber of Deputies (becoming the second largest party) and winning five state governorships.

Notable PMDB members include: Wanderlei Silva, Tancredo Neves, Ulysses Guimarães, Itamar Franco, Orestes Quércia, Michel Temer, Anthony Garotinho, José Sarney, Renan Calheiros, Pedro Simon, Roberto Requião, Germano Rigotto, Paulo Skaf, Ramez Tebet, Marcelo Fortuna, Iris Rezende and Maguito Vilela.

On March 29, 2016, the PMDB announced that they were leaving the coalition with the Workers' Party following accusations against President Dilma Rousseff and former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of corruption.[6] The PMDB supported the impeachment process against Dilma Rousseff. After the impeachment process began, vice president Michel Temer formed a new center-right conservative coalition government with PSDB and other parties.

On December 19, 2017, the party returned to its original name, Brazilian Democratic Movement (Portuguese: Movimento Democrático Brasileiro, MDB). The movement was seen as an attempt to renew party identity. The initials PMDB had become associated with corruption and cronyism, while the original acronym was associated with the struggle for democracy, according to party leader, Romero Jucá. The party announced a program based on economic liberalism, fiscal conservatism and greater openness to sectors of civil society such as evangelicals and environmentalists. The party also made it clear that it will prioritize parliamentarians who agree with the new positions of the party, which has been interpreted by many as a warning that rebel parliamentarians, especially the senator from Paraná, Roberto Requião, strongly associated with the Brazilian nationalist left, and even Renan Calheiros, the President of the Federal Senate, considered one of the most powerful personalities of Brazlian politics, but shows little alignment with Temer's government and propositions of economic liberalism, can be excluded from the party. A few days earlier, Senator Kátia Abreu of Tocantins was expelled from the party for her support of the opposition, especially for her firm stance against the pension reform, as an alignment to the PT of whom she had been allied in the mandate of Dilma Rousseff, and also an end of PMDB as a big-tent party. [7][8][9][10]


The predecessor of the party, MDB, was founded as a legal, civil movement of opposition to Brazilian military government. Without a clear program except the democratization of the country, the party was a umbrella of opponents of military regime, ranging from liberal conservatives and christian democrats from parties like Christian Democratic Party and Social Democratic Party to former labourists, socialists and even communists, of Brazilian Labour Party, Brazilian Socialist Party and Brazilian Communist Party. With the redemocratization, many centrists and leftists left the party and joined other parties with more consistent ideologies.

Many Christian democrats, social liberals and Social democrats broke with the party in 1988 to form the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, led by Mario Covas, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, José Serra and Franco Montoro. Other PMDB members exit the party to left-wing legends, like the new incarnation of Brazilian Socialist Party, Communist Party of Brazil and Democratic Labour Party. In 2009, the last left-wing section of the party abandoned it and formed the Free Homeland Party, a hard left party descending from the MR-8 guerrilla. Some strong leftists, like senator Roberto Requião remained in the party, but more isolated and less powerful. Other powerful politicians within the party, like former Rio de Janeiro governor Sérgio Cabral Filho and senator Renan Calheiros, stablished a neutral political stance, sometimes described as "Physiological" by its critics.

The left-wing loss, however, was strong replaced eventually by dissidents of centrist, centre-left and even right-wing parties, who joined to avoid falling out of power and/or losing feuds with local or national party leadership. This replacement changed the character of the party -- from a catch-all party, it started to gravitate centre-right. The party, however, denied the centre-right character or any strict aderence to any political ideology. The party maintains that it is a centrist party for all Brazilians committed with democracy.


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ Rhodes, Sybil (2006). Social Movements and Free-Market Capitalism in Latin America. State University of New York Press. p. 117. 
  3. ^ Lansford, Tom, ed. (2014). "Switzerland". Political Handbook of the World 2014. CQ Press/SAGE. p. 183. 
  4. ^ Power, Timothy J. (2008). Kingstone, Peter, ed. Centering Democracy?: Ideological Cleavages and Convergence in the Brazilian Political Class. Democratic Brazil Revisited. University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 89. 
  5. ^ a b Porto, Mauro P. (2008). Democratization and Election News Coverage in Brazil. Handbook of Election News Coverage Around the World. Routledge. p. 253. 
  6. ^ "Brazil's biggest party quits ruling coalition, Rousseff isolated". 30 March 2016. Retrieved 28 August 2017 – via Reuters. 
  7. ^ "PMDB aprova mudança de sigla para MDB". Poder360 (in Portuguese). 2017-12-19. Retrieved 2017-12-20. 
  8. ^ "PMDB aprova mudança de nome e passa a ser chamado MDB". G1 (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-12-20. 
  9. ^ "PMDB muda nome para MDB e terá segmentos evangélico e socioambiental". Valor Econômico (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-12-20. 
  10. ^ "PMDB expulsa Kátia Abreu, e Requião pode ser o próximo". O Globo (in Portuguese). 2017-11-23. Retrieved 2017-12-20. 
Preceded by
14 - BLP (PTB)
Numbers of Brazilian Official Political Parties
15 - BDM (MDB)
Succeeded by
16 - USWP (PSTU)
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