The ceremony had been expected for weeks but was orchestrated without fanfare. Tuesday, November 30, it is in the modest conference room of an international hotel in Brasilia that Jair Bolsonaro formalized his membership in the Liberal Party (PL). A decisive step, one year from the 2022 presidential election, but which the Head of State wanted to conduct as discreetly as possible.
The thing was quickly dispatched. Surrounded by his son and Senator Flavio (who also joined the PL) and the barons of the majority, Mr. Bolsonaro gave a speech of about fifteen minutes. “Affiliation [à un parti] is a simple event, but of great importance (…) we will be like a family! “, promised the president of Brazil, without lyrical soaring.
The event represents an admission of failure for this anti-system leader, who had sworn never to govern with the establishment, and in particular the “Centrao” (large center), this aggregate of opportunist political formations without ideology, dominating Congress, of which the PL is one of the representatives. At the start of his mandate, he even cherished the dream of creating his own movement, the Alliance for Brazil (APB), which was to be administered directly by his family.
The ace. The president never managed to structure his training and collect the 500,000 signatures necessary for its creation. Threatened with dismissal, Jair Bolsonaro was forced to form an alliance with the formations of the “Brazilian swamp” in mid-2020. The Liberal Party, the Social Democratic Party (PDS) and the Progressive Party (PP) then entered the government, the Head of State going so far as to entrust the key post of head of the Casa Civil (a sort of super-chef de cabinet) to Senator Ciro Nogueira, one of the pundits of the Centrao.
” Back home “
However unpleasant it may be, joining the PL remained an essential step. Since the end of 2019 and his shattering exit from the Social-Liberal Party (PSL), which he joined before the presidential election, Mr. Bolsonaro remained “without a party”. A situation that does not tolerate, in the long term, the Brazilian electoral law, which requires all candidates to be affiliated with a recognized political formation.
For Jair Bolsonaro, the event is also a “homecoming”. A deputy for twenty-seven years, he was in fact a member of no less than eight groups, including several belonging to the Centrao. Marked on the right, the PL has 43 deputies, making it the third political group in the lower house. “It’s a marriage of convenience, pragmatic and not ideological. The Liberal Party intends to take advantage of Bolsonaro’s popularity on the right to elect more deputies to the legislative elections of 2022 [qui auront lieu en même temps que la présidentielle] » , explains Paulo Sergio Peres, political scientist at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul.
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Brazil: unable to create his own training, Jair Bolsonaro joins the Liberal Party