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World > South America > Brazil > Government and Political Conditions (Notes)

Brazil - Government and Political Conditions (Notes)


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
Brazil is a federal republic with 26 states and a federal district. The 1988 constitution grants broad powers to the federal government, made up of executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The president holds office for four years, with the right to re-election for an additional four-year term, and appoints his own cabinet. There are 81 senators, three for each state and the Federal District, and 513 deputies. Senate terms are eight years, staggered so that two-thirds of the upper house is up for election at one time and one-third four years later. Chamber terms are four years, with elections based on a complex system of proportional representation by states. Each state is eligible for a minimum of eight seats; the largest state delegation (Sao Paulo's) is capped at 70 seats. This system is weighted in favor of geographically large but sparsely populated states.

Fifteen political parties are represented in Congress. Since it is common for politicians to switch parties, the proportion of congressional seats held by particular parties changes regularly. The major political parties are: Workers' Party (PT-center-left) Liberal Front Party (PFL-right) Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB-center) Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB-center-left) Progressive Party (PP-right) Brazilian Labor Party (PTB-center-right) Liberal Party (PL-center-right) Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB-left) Popular Socialist Party (PPS-left) Democratic Labor Party (PDT-left) Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB-left) Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL-left)

President Lula was re-elected October 29, 2006 in a second round victory with over sixty percent of the vote, over Geraldo Alckmin of the PSDB. Lula?s PT party failed to win a majority in either the lower or upper houses in concurrent legislative elections and will be obliged to form a coalition with the centrist PMDB party -- which won the most seats in the lower house and may end up with the largest number in the Senate -- and a collection of minor parties. However, party loyalty is weak in Brazil, and it is common for politicians to switch parties, changing the balance of power in Congress. The PT won five of twenty-seven governorships, but the opposition PSDB remains in control of the critical states of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais. The PMDB, as in the legislative elections, won the most governorships of any one party, controlling seven states. Because of the mandatory revenue allocation to states and municipalities provided for in the 1988 constitution, Brazilian governors and mayors have exercised considerable power since 1989.

Lula?s electoral victory came despite a series of corruption scandals that resulted in the resignation of senior PT officials and the electoral defeat of several congressmen from parties allied to the PT. At least four congressional investigations are ongoing, though Lula has yet to be personally linked to any of the scandals.

Chief of State and Cabinet Members
President--Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
Vice President--Jose Alencar Gomes da Silva
Minister of Defense--Nelson Jobim
Minister of Finance--Guido Mantega
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Celso Amorim
Minister of Development, Industry & Trade--Miguel Jorge Filho
Ambassador to the United States--Antonio Patriota
Ambassador to the United Nations--Ronaldo Sardenberg
Ambassador to the OAS--Osmar Vladimir Chohfi

Brazil maintains an embassy in the United States at 3006 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-238-2700). Brazil has consulates general in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and consulates in Miami, Houston, Boston, and San Francisco.


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions - Brazilian Real Exchange Rates
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions
Brazilian Real Exchange Rates


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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