Short for BR by Abbreviationfinder, Brazil is a federal republic where the president, congress and the judiciary are to be separate poles of power. The Constitution is from 1988 and marks the final transition from military dictatorship to democracy. Many of the president’s powers were then transferred to Congress. Censorship and security laws were abolished, and guarantees for civil liberties and rights were introduced. However, Brazilian democracy is still struggling with several problems, not least the widespread corruption.
The president is the head of state and government, appoints the ministers and appoints a large number of officials. Among other things, the government must include the head of the military. The president is elected for four years. To win in the first round, a candidate must get at least half the votes, otherwise a second round of elections will be held between the two main candidates. The president can be re-elected once, but must then give up at least one term to run for re-election.
- Countryaah: Total population and chart of Brazil for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
The legislative power lies with the National Congress (Congresso nacional), which consists of the Chamber of Deputies (Câmara dos deputados) and the Senate (Senado federal). The Chamber of Deputies adopts laws and approves the country’s budget. The Senate can put the President and Ministers before the national court and approve appointments of, among other judges and ambassadors.
The members of the Chamber of Deputies are elected for four years, at the same time as the presidential election. The number depends on the size of the population and currently amounts to 513. The Senate has 81 members elected for a period of eight years: one-third and two-thirds are replaced every four years. There is a duty to vote for literate persons between the ages of 18 and 69. Voting is voluntary for illiterate persons, for 16- and 17-year-olds and for persons over 70 years.
Brazil is divided into 26 states plus the metropolitan area (Distrito federal) which forms its own administrative unit. The states have relatively large autonomy and are led by directly elected governors and their own parliaments. The regional elections are held simultaneously with the national elections. Elections in the over 5,500 municipalities are held between the other elections.
Regional policy has created contradictions ever since the colonial era. Governors and mayors have a great deal of influence and often fight the federal government. The state’s tax revenue is redistributed at the federal level and rich states complain about having to support poor regions. The election system also gives an overrepresentation for less developed regions.
The regional, social and economic differences within Brazil are enormous and make the country difficult to control. By tradition, powerful economic interests and the military have been stronger than the political parties, which are many and small. There are no barriers for small parties in the National Congress. In the Chamber of Deputies, no less than 30 parties are represented after the 2018 election, and in the Senate 21 parties. Regional interest groups have a great influence over politicians, and the change of party is common. Therefore, the conditions for party changes have been tightened for elected politicians. The difficulty in passing proposals in Parliament has often led to presidential rule through decrees, that is, a kind of temporary legislation that does not need to be enshrined in Parliament. Since 2010, there is a law (ficha limpa)) that prevents persons convicted of corruption or serious crimes from running for election.
The Labor Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores, PT) was founded in 1980 and has support both in the industrial cities and among rural workers. The party grew out of the trade union movement of the car companies São Paulo, which allied with other left movements and opponents of the military regime. The ties to the union are still strong. PT became the largest party for the first time in the 2002 election and one of its founders, former union leader Luis Inácio “Lula” da Silva, was elected president. Earlier, the Labor Party advocated a socialist system, but during Lula’s time as president, the radical message was faded and the party has moved toward the political center, a development that has brought bad blood to the left wing within the party. After the 2010 election, Lula da Silva was succeeded by party mate Dilma Rousseff, who became Brazil’s first female president. She was re-elected in 2014 but was deposed by national court in August 2016. Current policy).
The Social Liberal Party (Partido Social Liberal, PSL) is the name despite a party far out on the right. The party was formed in the 1990s and, after the 2014 election, had a single member of the Chamber of Deputies. Prior to the 2018 election, however, MP Jair Bolsonaro joined PSL, which resulted in the party’s social-liberal core being withdrawn and the program was overthrown and pronounced national conservative. Bolsonaro, known for right-wing opinions, sailed as a leading presidential candidate and in the 2018 election, PSL went strong and became the second largest party in the Chamber of Deputies. In the second round of the presidential election, Bolsonaro won over PT’s Haddad. A year later, however, he left the party and announced that he will form a new party (see Calendar).
The Brazilian Democratic Movement (Movimento Democrático Brasileiro, MDB), was named the official opposition party during the military dictatorship (1964–1985, see Modern History). It was dissolved in 1979, but former members then founded the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, the PMDB, which advocated democratization and soon became a dominant party. It is usually described as a middle or middle right but has a rather weak ideological appearance. The party that took the name MDB 2017 has often acted as the tongue on the wave and has been called Brazil’s “standing coalition party”. The PMDB (as it was then called) was a member of the Labor Party-led governments in 2003–2016, and in exchange for its support for the Government Party, could add more posts at both federal and state and local levels than any other party. However, support for Dilma Rousseff was withdrawn in 2016 and when she was dismissed, Vice President PMDB’s Michel Temer took over the post. Temer did not stand in the 2018 presidential election.
The Brazilian Social Democratic Party (Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira, PSDB), was formed in 1988 by outbreaks from the PMDB. The party emphasizes economic and social justice and sat in power 1995–2002. Between 2002 and 2014, the party’s candidate went to the second round in all presidential elections, without winning. Despite its name, the PSDB is regarded as a middle or right-wing party and has been the main opposition party against the Labor Party governments.
Both MDB and PSDB lost many seats in the 2018 National Congress election, probably to a large extent to PSL.
The Democrats (Democratas, DEM) is a center-right party that advocates liberal economic policies and who also stood in strong opposition to the Labor Party-led governments. (The party was formerly called the Liberal Front Party.)
In 2011, a new party was formed by a defender from the Democrats: the Social Democratic Party (Partido Social Democrático, PSD). Members of other parties joined and PSD quickly became one of the larger parties in the federal parliament. Just like PSDB, it is more right than left, despite the name.
The Progressive Party (Partido Progressista, PP) was formed in 1995 after a merger of several right-wing parties.
The Brazilian Republican Party (Partido Republicano Brasilerio, PRB) and the Republican Party (Partido da República, PR) are two right-wing parties formed in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
The Brazilian Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Brasileiro, PSB) was included in the Rousseff election alliance in 2010 but set up on its own in the 2014 elections and voted to dismiss Rousseff two years later (see Modern History). However, the party supported Haddad in the 2018 election.
The Democratic Labor Party (Partido Democrático Trabalhista, PDT) was the dominant left party before the Labor Party took over the role. PDT also voted to dismiss Rousseff.