The Military Party

Image: Paulinho Fluxuz_


The military wants to stay in power in the next elections

In light of Lula's growth in the polls that guide the 2022 elections, several political analyzes have addressed Bolsonaro's permanence or not in the presidency, and its reflections on the different power strategies that social classes and political groupings have adopted. In this brief, non-exhaustive article, we will discuss some projections for the behavior of a specific social segment, currently coordinated by the Military Party.


What will define the position of the Military Party before the elections are the political definitions of two elites in particular: the Brazilian banking-financial and agribusiness system. In the case of the second, relations with the Military Party are solid and old, and are manifested, for example, in indigenist policy, territorial occupation policies, international trade in commodities, etc.

The US position also has weight in the definitions. Joe Biden signals the priority of Europe, where Bolsonaro has low acceptance. The US is concerned about the recent rise of progressive governments on the continent, and considers Brazil an important factor in maintaining its regional hegemony and stability. A third way seems, therefore, more interesting for the US than Bolsonaro, a strong destabilizing factor. An explicit Chinese positioning would also impact, but this does not seem to be a trend.

The Military Party has no electoral registration. In this way, it is impacted by changes in the general legislation under discussion (such as the district vote, or the formation of confederations), and by internal disputes existing in the formal parties in which it participates, as is the case of the PSL.

The Military Party will continue to dispute power, regardless of the scenario, and will do so through elections, and not through coups like the 1964 one. giving priority to municipalities and public companies, in addition to the areas directly closest to it, such as the Institutional Security Office and the Ministry of Defense.

electoral calculations

(1). With Bolsonaro disputing the 2022 elections against Lula, without a third way

The Party coalesced around Bolsonaro and set out to win a second term, serving again as the president's guarantor along with other categories, such as neo-Pentecostals, the centrão and the liberal right. One or another disgruntled member of the Military Party swallows frogs in the Executive's dispute and throws himself to the Legislative. If Lula has absolute leadership, they will adopt a more discreet behavior, aiming to maintain at least the space conquered during the Temer government.

It is very unlikely, almost impossible, regardless of the breadth of the political front articulated by Lula, that the Military Party joins a left-wing candidacy. If this absolute leadership of the Lula candidacy does not exist, the Military Party will calculate its behavior according to the broader destabilization movements carried out by the Fardado Party (members of public and private security services in general, part of them associated with the militias), already announced by Bolsonaro .

(two). With Bolsonaro disputing the 2 elections against Lula and against an articulated third way

Afraid that Bolsonaro will eventually lose the elections and keen to stay in power, the Military Party remains in government, but surreptitiously articulating a plan B. If the third way is electorally viable, (with General Santos Cruz, Sérgio Moro, Eduardo Leite or other possibilities that arise by then) the Military Party will split, keeping “two prize horses” in the race. Although it is harmful for the Party to leave divided, in the face of a possible defeat for the left, it would be a way of negotiating its maintenance in political power.

(3). Without Bolsonaro, due to impeachment, acceptance of criminal complaint or resignation

The Military Party coalesces around General Mourão until 2022 and adheres to the third liberal path (now the first). Whether Mourão will lead this new ticket or not is secondary, but part of the negotiation for the Military Party to join the impeachment is to keep the military in power. It is the favorite route of the military sectors close to the car wash.

In the three previous situations, since 2018, there has been a strong movement of the Military Party also for the legislative elections and for the state executives. If there is greater difficulty in maintaining power in the federal executive, the Legislature will gain even greater protagonism.

* Ana Penido is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Public Policies in International Relations (IPPRI – UNESP).

*Rodrigo Lentz is a doctoral candidate in Political Science at the University of Brasilia (UNB).

Article written for the Defense and Sovereignty Observatory of the Tricontinental Institute.


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