Brazil: Detribalizing Politics

To the average Brazilian, party politics is about as sensible as alphabet soup: no fewer than 14 machine-controlled parties, each known popularly by its two-or three-letter initials, provide more than enough confusion for any ordinary citizen. Effective action in Congress is chronically hobbled by interparty bickering and mercurial coalitions. "Our politics have not surpassed tribal primitivism," admits José Eduardo Kelly, a founder of U.D.N. (National Democratic Union), one of the parties in President Humberto Castello Branco's current coalition.

Last week Castello Branco took a hopeful step toward detribalizing Brazil's politics by signing...

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