Political liberalization in Brazil: Dynamics, dilemmas, and future prospects

Wayne A. Selcher, Elizabethtown College


The civilian government inaugurated in Brazil in March 1985, following twenty-one years of military rule, is the culmination of a slow process of liberalization that has brought greater freedom of political expression, organization, and activity. How the Sarney government responds to the challenges it faces and the institutional choices it must make will shape Brazil’s political evolution for years to come. Should Brazil develop a democratic system, it would be the third most populous democracy in the world. Political trends in Brazil are therefore of considerable significance to Latin America and the United States. In this comprehensive analysis of the forces pushing democratization forward, those opposing it, and the contradictions created by the ad hoc nature of the dynamics between the two, the contributors examine the legacy of two decades of authoritarian rule, the choices facing the civilian government, and possible future developments.