Brazil Politics

Brazil covers an area of 3.29 million square miles and has a population of approximately 206.4 million inhabitants. The capital of Brazil is Brasilia and its largest city is Sao Paulo with a population of 12 million.

Brazil was inhabited by numerous tribes prior to the arrival of Pedro Alvares Cabral in 1500. Cabral claimed the area for the Portuguese Empire. Brazil remained a Portuguese Colony until 1808, when Rio de Janeiro became capital. Independence was achieved in 1822. Brasilia became the capital in 1960 after it was purpose planned and developed by Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer in an attempt to move the capital to a more geographical centre of the country.

Rio de Janeiro city scene showing Christ the Redeemer and Rio city
Rio de Janeiro city scene
Brazilian Favelas in Rio de Janeiro
Brazilian Favelas in Rio de Janeiro

Brazil is governed by a democratic federative republic with a president, currently Michel Temer, who is the head of state, head of government and head of a multi-party system. The President appoints the Ministers of State. The President is elected for a four year term, with a possibility for a second successive term.

Legislative houses in each political entity are the main source of law.

The National Congress is the legislative body of Brazil’s government. The National Congress consists of the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate.

Brazil consists of 26 states, one federal district and 5,570 municipalities. The executive power is exercised by a governor (on a four year term). Judiciary is exercised by courts.

Map of Brazil showing StatesThe Brazil political system is a multi-party system. There are four major political parties in Brazil: Workers Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores or PT), Brazilian Social Democratic Party (Partido Social Democracia Brasileira or PSDB), Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (Partido do Movimento Democratica or PMDB) and Democrats (Democratas or DEM).

PT was launched in 1980 and is one of the largest left wing movements in Latin America. PT governed at a federal level in a coalition government from January 2003 and August 2016. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Lula) was President between 2003 and 2011 and is the most prominent member of PT. Lula was replaced by Dilma Rousseff in 2011. Impeachment proceedings were started against Dilma at end of 2015 through 2016 after she was charged with criminal responsibility in the execution of her duties, in particular disregarding the federal budget in violation of the Fiscal Responsibility Law article 36.

Brazilian Workers Party logoPolitical History

Emperor

  • 1822-1831 – Pedro 1
  • 1831-1889 – Pedro II

Provisional Government

  • 1889-1891 – Deodoro da Fonseca – Military

President

  • 1891-1891 – Deodoro da Fonseca – Military
  • 1891-1894 – Floriano Peixoto – Military
  • 1894-1898 – Prudent de Morais – Federal Republican Party
  • 1898-1902 – Campos Sales – Sao Paulo Republican Party
  • 1902-1906 – Rodrigues Alves – Sao Paulo Republican Party
  • 1906-1909 – Alfonso Pena – Mineiro Republican Party
  • 1909-1910 – Nilo Pecanha – Rio Republican Party
  • 1910-1914 – Hermes da Fonseca – Conservative Republican Party
  • 1914-1918 – Vanceslau Bras – Mineiro Republican Party
  • 1919-1919 – Delfim Moreira – Mineiro Republican Party
  • 1919-1922 – Epitacio Pessoa – Mineiro Republican Party
  • 1922-1926 – Artur Banardes – Mineiro Republican Party
  • 1926-1930 – Washington Luis – Sao Paulo Republican Party

Provisional Government

  • 1930-1934 – Getulio Vargas – Military

President

  • 1934-1945 – Getulio Vargas – Liberal Alliance
  • 1945-1945 – Jose Linhares – None
  • 1946-1951 – Gaspar Dutra – Social Democratic Party (Military)
  • 1951-1954 – Getulio Vargas – Brazilian Labour Party
  • 1954-1956 – Café Filho – Social Progressive Party

Acting President for Café Filho

  • 1955-1955 Carlos Luz – Social Democratic Party
  • 1955-1956 – Nereu Ramos – Social Democratic Party

President

  • 1956-1961 – Juscelino Kubitschek – Social Democratic Party
  • 1961-1961 – Janio Quadros – National Labour Party
  • 1961-1961 – Ranieri Mazzilli – Social Democratic Party
  • 1961-1964 – Joao Goulart – Brazilian Labour Party

Acting President

  • 1964-1964 – Ranieri Mazzilli – Social Democratic Party

President

  • 1965-1967 – Humberto Castelo Branco – National Renewal Alliance (Military)
  • 1967-1969 – Artur da Costa e Silva – National Renewal Alliance (Military)
  • 1969-1969 – Military
  • 1969-1974 – Emilio Medici – National Renewal Alliance (Military)
  • 1974-1979 – Ernesto Geisel – National Renewal Alliance (Military)
  • 1979-1985 – Joao Figueiredo – Democratic Social Party (Military)
  • 1985-1990 – Jose Sarney – Brazilian Democratic Movement Party
  • 1990-1992 – Fernando Collor – Party of the National Reconstruction
  • 1992-1995 – Itamar Franco – Brazilian Democratic Movement Party
  • 1995-2003 – Fernando Henrique Cardoso – Brazilian Social Democracy Party
  • 2003-2011 – Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva – Workers Party
  • 2011-2016 – Dilma Rousseff – Workers Party
  • 2016-Current – Michel Temer – Brazilian Democratic Movement Party

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

President Luiza Inacio Lula da Silva

President Dilma Rousseff

President Dilma Rousseff

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