Partido dos Trabalhadores

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Partido dos Trabalhadores
Logo of the PT
Gleisi Hoffmann (2017)
Party leader Gleisi Hoffmann
founding February 10, 1980
Place of foundation Sion College in São Paulo
Headquarters Brasília
Alignment 21st century socialism

Democratic socialism social democracy

Colours) Red and white
Parliament seats all mandates of the 2018 general elections and 2020 local elections and before the October 2022 elections:


Federal MPs:

State MPs:

City prefects:

City Councils:
Number of members 1,534,315 (April 2020)
International connections Progressive Alliance

The Partido dos Trabalhadores ( PT , German  Workers 'Party , colloquially German also Workers' Party ) is a left-wing political party in Brazil . The symbol of the party is the five-pointed red star with the lettering PT in white, its flag is the inversion of these colors. In elections in Brazil, their candidates are identified by the number 13. Their followers are called petistas after the party's acronym . The party has its roots in the labor and trade union movement. Today she represents a moderately left, social democratic course.

The party provided the President of Brazil from 2003 to 2016, first with Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003–2010) and then with Dilma Rousseff (2011–2016). It also provides several Brazilian state governors and is regularly one of the largest parties in parliamentary elections. The party's chairman has been Gleisi Hoffmann since June 2017 .


Flag of the PT in front of the Palácio do Planalto . Photo: José Cruz / ABr.


The party was founded during the military dictatorship on February 10, 1980 in São Paulo as an association of union members , at that time under the leadership of the former president Lula da Silva. In addition, left, liberation theologically and ecologically oriented groups and individuals took part. The consensus within the party was a socialism or democratic socialism . In addition to the undogmatic left, there are also communist and Trotskyist currents within the party. Through its commitment in the trade union movement (cf. Central Única dos Trabalhadores ), the PT has won many members from these ranks. In the countryside, the PT became interesting because of its commitment to land reforms for farmers and others who were involved there (see Landpastoral Comissão Pastoral da Terra / CPT and Movimento dos sem terra / MST).

Rise of the party

Until the mid-1990s, the PT was primarily active in the opposition and rarely entered into alliances with other parties. In contrast to other parties in Brazil, which are often more electoral associations with strongly changing membership, he has developed his own left profile in the sense of Western European parties.

The PT achieved its first major electoral success in 1988 in Porto Alegre with the election of Olivio Dutra as mayor. The PT has been re-elected there for 16 years and is a leader in the city administration, albeit always as part of a coalition . With the introduction of the participation budget ( Orçamento Participativo ), the party set local political standards in Brazil. Many cities, including those that were not governed by the PT, adopted the model.

As early as the 1990s, the PT won many local elections, especially in large cities such as Fortaleza , São Paulo , Belo Horizonte , Recife , Belém , Brasília . In Mato Grosso do Sul , the PT provided the governor .

As of June 2018, the party had 1,589,377 members, including 382,810 members (around 24.1%) in the stronghold of São Paulo , followed by the state of Minas Gerais with 178,249 members (around 11.2%) and the state Rio de Janeiro with 121,906 members (around 7.7%).

Internal disputes

After the parliamentary vote on the constitutional amendment on pension reform in December 2003, Senator Heloísa Helena and the members of the Chamber of Deputies Babá , João Fontes and Luciana Genro , who belonged to the left wing of the party, were expelled from the party because they agreed to their opinion refused neoliberal pension reform. They were joined by other PT members, including some former MPs and founding members. Many of them joined forces with other leftists to form the new Partido Socialismo e Liberdade (P-SOL) project. The majority of the party's left wing, including government member Miguel Rosseto , remained in the party and supported government policy.

In September 2005, in the wake of the Mensalão (see below) mentioned bribery scandal, together with hundreds of party members, some of whom have been long-standing, five MPs from the left wing of the party and the internal party Ação Popular Socialista joined the P-SOL.

Government responsibility

With the assumption of government positions at local, regional and finally also federal level, the social democratic direction increasingly prevailed. Critics inside and outside the party now accuse her of this after the PT was defamed as left-wing extremist or communist in the 1980s and 1990s, especially by the Brazilian media.

Lula government

Lula da Silva was elected President and therefore head of government of Brazil in the fourth attempt in 2002 and formed a coalition government with several other parties. In addition to the economic stabilization of the country, a project that has so far been successful, social improvements such as the zero hunger program ( Fome Zero ), the Bolsa Família program and land reform are seen as important. Critics, e.g. B. the landless movement MST , accuse the government and thus also the PT of losing sight of their real goals. After the 2006 elections , the PT was the party with the most votes in the National Congress ( Congresso Nacional ) with 15% . Lula was president until 2010.

Rousseff government

A PT politician, Dilma Rousseff, also won the 2010 presidential elections. She was re-elected in 2014 and began her second term in 2015. The Federal Senate suspended her from her position on May 12 for six months. On August 31, 2016, he decided to impeach her.

Criticism and scandals

The PT is not the only, but by far the most successful left-wing party in the country. In most elections and runoffs, a PT candidate and a liberal or bourgeois party face each other. The political orientation and the success make the PT an enemy of the middle class of the country. There are also internal party disputes and several corruption affairs.

Plano Safra Legal

In 2005 it became known that the state of Pará had illegally issued permits for the felling of over 220,000 cubic meters of rainforest wood by members of the PT. The proceeds and the consideration of the beneficiaries were used to help PT candidates in the election campaign.

Purchased dossier

In August 2006, advisers to President Lula and the party leadership were arrested in a hotel with a suitcase containing 1,715,800 Reais cash (approx. 800,000 euros). They had tried to buy a dossier with inside information about José Serra , the candidate of the Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira in the election campaign for governor in Sao Paulo. Before the purchase, the party leadership had already offered this information to several newspapers, which was supposed to prove Serra's involvement in a corruption case with photos and video recordings. However, the dossier only contained well-known banalities, so that the Labor Party, in addition to another scandal, also attracted public ridicule. After the scandal was exposed, President Lula dismissed the involved party officials; The chairman of the Brazilian central bank and the party chairman and former campaign leader Lulas Ricardo Berzoini also lost their posts. Lula himself insists on the free action of his advisors and party colleagues and denies any knowledge.

Party members (selection)


  • Emir Sader , Ken Silverstein: Don't be afraid of better times. Lula, the PT and Brazil. ISP, Cologne 1994, ISBN 3-929008-35-1 (party history until 1991)
  • Raul Pont: Hope for Brazil. Participation budget and World Social Forum in Porto Alegre. Development of the PT and Lula's election victory. ISP, Cologne 2003, ISBN 3-89900-107-9 (collection of articles on citizen participation and administration)

Annotated bibliography

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Tribunal Superior Eleitoral : Estatísticas de eleitorado - Filiados. Retrieved June 1, 2020 (Brazilian Portuguese).
  2. ^ Senadores em Exercício - Senado Federal. In: Accessed June 1, 2020 .
  3. "Are again the party of hope". Junge Welt, September 18, 2017, accessed October 12, 2017.
  4. CPDOC - Centro de Pesquisa e Documentação História Contemporânea do Brasil: OLIVIO DE OLIVEIRA DUTRA | CPDOC - Centro de Pesquisa e Documentação de História Contemporânea do Brasil. Retrieved September 1, 2018 (Brazilian Portuguese).
  5. Brazil: Senate votes for Dilma Rousseff's impeachment . In: Spiegel Online . August 31, 2016 ( [accessed September 1, 2018]).