Founded in 1995, as Brazilian Progressive Party (PPB), by the union of the Reform Progressive Party (continuation of the Democratic Social Party) and the Progressive Party (founded in 1994 by the Social Labour Party and the Renewal Labour Party), the party entered in coalition with the Brazilian Social Democracy Party and the Liberal Front Party, supporting President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. In 2003 the party re-changed its name to the Progressive Party.
At the last parliamentary elections, held in October 2006, the party won 42 of the 513 seats in the chamber of deputies, and it has 1 of the 81 seats in the Senate. Its most well-known politicians are Paulo Maluf, mayor and governor of São Paulo for several terms; Esperidião Amin, former governor of Santa Catarina and senator; and Francisco Dornelles, former minister of Labour.
The party has from its very beginning shown a tendency for regional division, with the sections from Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina states often threatening with secession, in part due to what is viewed by them as condescendence of the party's national direction towards members involved in corruption scandals, including Paulo Maluf (who has recently been discharged from his post as de facto leader of PP). The national orientation of the party has been one of close alliance with Lula's Workers' Party government (except on issues sensitive to the right wing core of PP, such as taxes), while the sections of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina once more show a defiant stance in aligning themselves more often with the opposition.