Brazil - Political and electoral system

Political and administrative structure

A federal republic. Politically and administratively, the country is comprised of a Union, states, a Federal District and municipalities, all of which are autonomous under the constitution. The Union is made up of federal territories; their creation, transformation into states or reincorporation into their states of origin is regulated by law. Each state is governed by its own constitution, and is headed by a governor. The country is sub-divided into the capital city, 26 states and 5,560 municipalities. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Brazil, 1988

National parliament

El Congreso Nacional (Congresso nacional) es bicameral. La Cámara de Diputados (Cámara dos Deputados) esta formada con 513 miembros directamente elegidos por 4 años. El Senado Federal está formado con 81 miembros directamente elegidos, que son nombrados por 8 años, pero donde un tercio y dos tercios van renovándose alternativamente cada 4 años ( primero 1/3, y después los 2/3 restantes).

Municipal government

The executive branch of each municipality is headed by a prefect. The legislative branch is the municipal chamber.

Duration of terms

"Prefects, Vice-Prefects and Councilpersons shall be elected for a term of four years, by direct and simultaneous vote throughout the State." - Constitution of the Federal Republic of Brazil, 198. Chap.IV - Municipalities (Art. 29., I and II).

Representation system

Absolute majority for mayors (prefeitos); proportional majority for councilpersons (vereadores).

Type of list


Electoral constituency

Uninominal for mayors (prefeitos); plurinominal for councilpersons (vereadores).

Quota and parity laws

See Laws.

Legal instruments applicable to municipalities

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Brazil, 198. Chap. IV - Municipalities.

Electoral Justice

The Superior Electoral Court is the organ responsible for ensuring that effective means exist to allow for a full expression of the popular will, through the exercise of the right to vote and hold elective office