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Government of Brazil

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BRAZIL GOVERNMENT


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 4 years, with the right to re-election for an additional 4-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 8 years, staggered so that two-thirds of the upper house is up for election at one time and one-third 4 years later. Chamber terms are 4 years, with elections based on a complex system of proportional representation by states. Each state is eligible for a minimum of 8 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)

President Lula was elected with the support of an alliance composed of his own leftist Workers' Party (PT), the center right Liberal Party (PL), the leftist National Mobilization Party (PMN), which currently only has two Deputies in the Chamber, the leftist Popular Socialist Party (PPS, formerly the PCB), and the leftist Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB). The PPS as well as the large PMDB party left the PT-led governing coalition in December 2004. With these withdrawals, the coalition has a small majority in the Chamber of Deputies and a minority in the Senate. Party loyalty is weak, and deputies and senators who belong to the parties comprising the government coalition do not always vote with the government, but the government may also attract support from members who are not in the governing coalition.

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. Presidential, congressional, and gubernatorial elections last took place in October 2002. President Lula won the election with 61% of the vote. His challenger in the run-off was Jose Serra of the PDSB, former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso's party. The next presidential elections will be held in October 2006. Municipal elections occurred in October 2004.

Principal Government Officials
President--Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
Vice President--Jose Alencar Gomes da Silva
Minister-Chief Casa Civil (Chief of Staff)--Dilma Rousseff
Ambassador to the United States--Roberto Abdenur
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 maintains consulates general in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles; and consulates in Miami, Houston, Boston, San Francisco, and Orlando.

Type: Federative republic.
Independence: September 7, 1822.
Constitution: Promulgated October 5, 1988.
Branches: Executive--president (chief of state and head of government popularly elected to no more than two 4-year terms). Legislative--Senate (81 members popularly elected to 8-year terms), Chamber of Deputies (513 members popularly elected to 4-year terms). Judicial--Supreme Federal Tribunal (11 lifetime positions appointed by the president).
Political parties: Workers Party (PT), Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB), Liberal Front Party (PFL), Social Democratic Party (PSD), Democratic Workers Party (PDT), Brazilian Labor Party (PTB), Liberal Party (PL), Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), Communist Party of Brazil (PC do B), Brazilian Progressive Party (PPB) [Note: In early 2003, this party changed its name to the Progressive Party (PP).], Popular Socialist Party (PPS), Green Party (PV), the Social Liberal Party (PSL), the National Mobilization Party (PMN), National Workers Party (PTN), Humanistic Solidarity Party (PHS), and the Party of the Reedification of the National Order (PRONA).


 
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