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The Brazilian Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Brasileiro, PSB), is a political party in Brazil. It was founded in 1947, before being abolished by the military regime in 1965 and re-organized in 1985 with the re-democratization of Brazil. It elected six Governors in 2010, becoming the second largest party in number of state governments, behind only PSDB. In addition to that, it won 34 seats in the Chamber of Deputies[1] and three seats in the Senate,[2] besides having been a member of the For Brazil to keep on changing coalition, which elected Dilma Rousseff as President of Brazil.


The first PSB (1947-1965)

The name Brazilian Socialist Party or variants had been used by several small socialist parties of brief existence prior to the foundation of PSB on 1947.

PSB has its origins at the end of the Getúlio Vargas' Estado Novo regime, when the Democratic Left (Esquerda Democrática - ED) emerged as a faction of the National Democratic Union (União Democrática Nacional - UDN) in 1945.[3] Its goals were to combine the social changes of the period with broad civil and political liberties.[3] ED's ideology was based on a broad left-wing concept: it advocated that socialism had to be built gradually and legallly, through the defense of democracy and a national identity.[3] In this sense, it differed greatly from other opposition parties, such as UDN, which advocated free market policies, and the Communist Party (PCB), which advocated the authoritarian socialism of the Soviet Union.[3]

As UDN became increasingly a right-leaning party, binding itself with the Brazilian Army[4] and the aspirations of urban middle classes,[5] ED's Socialist proposals were extremely at odds with the party, which led to a split and the subsequent foundation of PSB. On August 6, 1947, the Brazilian Socialist Party was founded, maintaining the same program and proposals it had as a faction of the UDN.[3] In its 1947 manifesto, the PSB sought to represent an alternative to the main left-wing parties of that period: Vargas' Brazilian Labor Party (PTB) and the Brazilian Communist Party (PCB). PSB opposed the centralism and authoritarianism of Vargas, as well as the rigid labour union structure supported by PTB. They opposed PCB's cult of personality and radical Marxism, which placed the PSB in the center-left spectrum, between radical Marxism and social democracy.

PSB proposed to be a party of "everyone who rely on their own work".[3] It advocated immediate reforms, such as the nationalization of economically strategic areas, the expansion of workers' rights, the ensuring of public health and education, and the development of democracy through means of popular participation.[3] Its structure brought a new experience which characterized PSB's democratic profile: the Base Centers (núcleos de base).[3] Through them, Socialist militants could get involved in the party project, discuss national issues and form the orientation and the target of partisan action.[3]

In the 1950 election, PSB's candidate, João Mangabeira won only 0.12% of the vote and the PSB elected only one deputy from Sergipe. At the same time, the PSB approached the PCB, banned in 1947 and operating underground. A number of communists ran for office under the PSB's endorsement.

In the 1955 election, the PSB endorsed the UDN candidate, Juarez Távora. In São Paulo, the PSB supported the electoral endeavors of Jânio Quadros: first in the São Paulo mayoral election in 1953 and Quadros' successful bid for Governor in 1954. However, the PSB's support for Quadros, a rather middle-class reformer, split the party, a split which ended with the expulsion of Quadros supporters from the party. In the 1960 election, won by Quadros, the PSB supported the candidacy of Teixeira Lott.

The PSB had limited legislative representation between 1947 and 1964, but in 1962 it elected one Senator, Aurélio Viana defeated the UDN's candidate, Juracy Magalhães in Guanabara.

The party supported left-wing President João Goulart, who was overthrown by the military in 1964, which later abolished all parties, including the PSB, in 1965. Most Socialists joined the Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB), the only opposition party recognized by the military regime.[3] Following the fall of the military in 1985, a number of former PSB members joined the Democratic Labour Party or the Workers' Party (PT).

The second PSB

Following re-democratization, a Brazilian Socialist Party was re-organized on the 1947 manifesto. It achieved limited electoral success at the outset, though it elected some legislators and mayors. In the 1989 election, it supported the PT candidate, Luís Inácio Lula da Silva.

In 1990, Pernambuco Governor Miguel Arraes joined the party, giving the PSB a minor electoral boost in subsequent elections. In the 1994 election, the party again endorsed Lula. In the same election, Arraes was re-elected Governor with 54% by the first round, and the PSB elected another governor, João Capiberibe, in Amapá and a Senator in Pará. The party continued to grow with the adhesion of several officeholders in 1995 and 1996, but it did not endorse the left-wing candidacy of Ciro Gomes in the 1998 election, preferring to endorse Lula. The same year, Arraes was defeated in Pernambuco but the party gained the governorship of Alagoas.

In 2000, the Governor of Rio de Janeiro, Anthony Garotinho joined the PSB following a feud with Leonel Brizola, the leader of the Democratic Labour Party. The adhesion of Garotinho caused several members of the PSB to leave the party to join Lula's PT. The PSB supported Garotinho's candidacy in the 2002 election, winning 17.9% in the first round.

However, Garotinho's membership proved a source of controversy and division, notably with President Lula's government. The split was resolved when Garotinho left the party in 2003. The party unofficially supported Lula's re-election in 2006 and won 27 deputies in the 2006 election. After that election, the PSB had three Governors: Cid Gomes (Ceará), Eduardo Campos (Pernambuco) and Wilma de Faria (Rio Grande do Norte).

Ciro Gomes joined the PSB in 2003, and was expected to be the PSB's candidate in the 2010 election; however, the PSB decided not to run a presidential candidate.

The PSB did well overall in the 2010 elections; it gained 7 seats in the Chamber of Deputies for a total of 34 seats, and regained representation in the Senate, now having 3 Senate seats. It lost the governorship of Rio Grande do Norte, but easily kept the governorships of Ceará and Pernambuco, and gained the governorship of Espírito Santo in an overwhelming victory. It also won the governorships of Amapá, Paraíba and Piauí following runoffs; for a total of 6 state governorships.


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