Dados vol. 32 n. 3 Rio de Janeiro 1989

Crise Política, Eleições e Dinâmica Partidária no Brasil: Um Balanço Histórico

Diniz, Eli


Starting with the evaluation of Brazilian political parties proposed in Sérgio Buarque de Holanda's mid-1930s book Raízes do Brasil, an analysis is made of the historical course traveled by Brazil's successive party systems down from the crisis of the Oligarchic Republic, with special emphasis on the periods of 1964-1982 and 1985 to the present. A relation is sought between the reduced institutionalization of party structure and greater institutional instability, showing the genesis and ramifications of this process over time. The formal aspects of party weakness are examined (implying the marginalization of party organizations from the governmental decision-making process) as are its symbolic aspects (illustrated by the consolidation of a political culture characterized by acute antipartyism). Reinforcing each other, these aspects work to favor the use of parties as an instrument of political struggle in conflicts between the elites. Thus, the structuring and de-structuring of party systems has historically represented a strategy used by the ruling elites to assure their survival or to keep opponent forces from rising to power. Lastly, this historical evolution is contrasted with the current instability of the party system, where a diagnosis. reveals new aspects of party-society relations. First and foremost, this instability reflects the adaptation movements of a party structure which, as it is still in formation, can tolerate a substantial degree of flexibility as far as the relative strengths and positions of its constitutive units. ln the Brazil of the Nova República, voters and parties stand face to face in electoral disputes, testing each other out under the impact of ever changing political situations. ln this context, the volatility of the vote and the unrooting of parties come together to produce a scenario characterized by a high degree of unpredictability.

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Crise Política, Eleições e Dinâmica Partidária no Brasil: Um Balanço Histórico