From Petista Way to Brazilian Way: How the PT Changes in the Road

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When Luiz Inácio 'Lula' da Silva won Brazil’s presidency in 2002, he and his Workers' Party (PT) had most observers convinced that this was a watershed moment for the country’s democracy. After all, the PT had built a reputation for over twenty years for good government and ethics in politics. Yet Lula's government has been severely undermined by corruption scandals, which surprised the most cynical PT-watchers and fostered broad disillusionment among many long-time PT supporters. This article lays out four interweaving strands of explanation for the PT's fall from grace, involving: the high cost of Brazilian elections, the strategic decisions of the party's dominant faction, economic constraints on an eventual Lula administration, and the difficulties of multi-party presidential systems.

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