Lima-de-Oliveira, R., 2016. “Government and Politics” in “Brazil” (Latin America in Focus Series), Antonio Luciano de Andrade Tosta and Eduardo F. Coutinho (eds.). Santa Barbara (CA): ABC-CLIO, 2016.

Renato Lima de Oliveira | ASB Faculty | Research Paper

Discipline: Political Science


Since 1985, when José Sarney became the first civilian president after more than 20 years of military rule, Brazil has been struggling to consolidate its vibrant and young democracy. It has now over 140 million voters who vote in contested elections that occur regularly each two years and are closely monitored by a free press. However, as underscored by a number of widespread popular protests that took place in July of 2013 and in opinion polls, there is widespread dissatisfaction with the quality of public services and political representation. Corruption scandals are common and the judicial system is slow and permissive, thus not acting as a deterrent of malfeasance. This chapter addresses the complex Brazilian party system and its electoral structure. It introduces the main political parties and explain how the federal system works in Brazil and the role assigned to municipalities, states and the federal government in managing the public administration of the country. Then, it concludes by addressing the main challenges and recent achievements in the pursuit of more accountable and efficient governments.