Until 2018, few people, if any, had ever heard of the Social Liberal Party (PSL). Between 1998—the year of its foundation—and 2014, the party won only four congressional seats, never grabbing more than one per electoral cycle. In 2006, when the party put forward its first ever presidential candidate, it received 62,064 votes—only 0.06 percent of valid ballots. But in 2018, the PSL was elevated to the second-largest party in Brazil’s lower house, with a total of 53 seats and only one behind the Workers’ Party, one of Brazil’s very few grassroots political parties.
The reason for this mercurial rise? The presidential campaign of PSL member Jair Bolsonaro.
But almost exactly a year after the party’s biggest political win, the PSL is on the verge of implosion