Brazil Government

The Brazil government operates as a republican form of government also called a federative republic, or federation of states. The central government is the federation and the states are the subdivisions within that government that maintain or support the federation.

Division of Power

The federal or central government handles larger issues like monetary policy, national defense and security, and anything else that would affect the country as a whole. Issues such as education, road repairs, and taxes are handled at the local level by the individual states.

It's similar to the United States in that the federal government ultimately has the final say, but the states are granted control over areas of government that affect their stated directly.

States of Brazil

The Federation of Brazil consists of 26 individual states and one federal district. The federal district, or Distrito Federal, is home to Brasilia, the capital of Brazil. The states are also called Federative Units.

Branches of Brazil Government

  • Executive branch - president elected by the people for up to two 4-year long terms. The president is also referred to as the head of government and the chief of state

  • Chamber of Deputies - 513 members elected by the people for 8-year long terms that are staggered

  • Judicial - 11 people appointed to lifelong positions by the president. This branch of government is comprised of state, federal, and municipal courts.

  • Legislative - 81 members of the Senate elected to 8-year long terms that are staggered

There are 21 different political parties within the country of Brazil.

The President of Brazil Government

The president is the head of the federation and is elected by the people every 4 years. As of the Constitution of 1988, a presidential candidate must be a minimum of 35 years old, born and residing in Brazil, and be an elector.

He or she must also qualify to run for office, which means he or she has electoral rights. Lastly, the presidential candidate must be a member of an established political party considering that write-in candidates are not permitted on the ballot in Brazil.

The president's duties include commanding the Brazilian Armed Forces as their commander-in-chief, representing Brazil across the world, heading up the executive branch of the Brazil government, and appointing Cabinet members and judges to sit on the Supreme Federal Tribunal. The president can also put laws on the books as well.

The president's official title is the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil if the president is a man.

If the President of Brazil is a woman, she is addressed with one of three titles of respect: President of the Republic, Her Excellency Madam President of the Republic, or Madam President.

History of Brazil Government

How did Brazil arrive at this form of government for their country?

  • 1534 - divisions within Brazil were called hereditary captaincies, which were areas of land that merchants or Portuguese nobleman were permitted to lease in hopes of colonizing the country. The father would pass his land on to his son for several years until the king took that right away from the people.

  • 16th century - the State of Brazil was divided into two states: Estado do Maranhao and Estado de Brazil

  • 1580-1640 - land of South America was divided into royal captaincies, captaincies, and provinces. One person, monarch, ran the country.

  • 1822 - all the captaincies were turned into provinces

  • 1840 - two-party system with emperor

  • 1889 - all provinces were then turned into states

  • 1889-1930 - the constitution of Brazil, also referred to as Old Republic, the people elected a president, state governors, state legislators, a National Congress, and local state officials

  • 1964 - military was in charge of Brazil government for 21 years. During this time, elections were still held for local/state government positions, but the federal ones were governed indirectly by the military.

  • 1980- six political parties existed by this time

  • 1985 - Brazil returned to civilian rule

In a nutshell, the Brazilian government has endured two periods of dictators, three periods of democratic rule, and six different constitutions since the year 1889. Voting is not a choice given to the people, but rather it is mandatory.

How Do Brazilians Feel About Brazil Government?

In recent years Brazil's economy had strengthened and more people were able to experience a better standard of living, however at the time of this writing in 2016, there have been a number of major economic and political upheavals in Brazil.  As a result, so many Brazilians are feeling angry and frustrated, in a time of uncertainty.

One thing is certain however, there is a tremendous resiliency, faith and indominatable spirit in the Brazilian people, one that continues to inspire me daily.  No matter what obstacles they face, I believe that they will find a way through these difficulties.  My good wishes and prayers go out to all people in Brazil, and in the world today who are facing uncertainties in their future.



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