The Political Right in Postauthoritarian Brazil: Elites, Institutions, and Democratization

Brazil was an early case of a conservative transition from authoritarian rule, wherein civilian elites associated with the outgoing military regime assumed a commanding role in the early years of democracy. When this phenomenon was first theorized in the mid-1980s, there were few other comparable cases, with Turkey and South Korea perhaps the best known. In the past decade the proliferation of new democracies in Eastern Europe has drawn attention to the impressive survival skills of ex-authoritarian elites. In this book Power examines this cohort of civilian politicians, showing how they adapted to competitive politics after the 1985 regime transition and how their socialization to politics in the 1960s and 1970s shaped their initially negative attitudes toward institution building in the 1980s and 1990s--with deleterious consequences for Brazil's fledgling democracy. Power's study sheds new light on the paradoxes, tradeoffs, and drawbacks of conservative transitions to democracy.