Brazil consists of 26 states, more than 5,500 municipalities and a Federal District. Brazil’s political evolution has not been smooth. It’s ironic that the principles upheld by the parties are most often contradicted in practice. When the country gained its independence in 1822, it adapted a constitutional monarchy. Political participation was somewhat limited as the entire focus was on the slave trade and plantation economy. After the 1880’s the political situation in Brazil began to worsen as the system clearly showed it was incapable of accommodating military demands and pressure to emancipate slaves.
From 1888 until recently, the country struggled with democracy. But in 1985, the military government was peacefully removed. It was only in 1998 that the constitution granted broad powers to the federal government. The government of Brazil is a presidential democracy. The President is both the head of the state, the government and of the multi-part system. The President of the country serves a term of four years and can stand for a re-election. He is also given the power to nominate his own cabinet.
The Federal Government is made up of the following:
- Executive Branch – This branch has the sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The main office holders are the President and the Vice-President.
- Legislative Branch – This branch is made up of two Houses: the Senate (81 seats) and the Chamber of Deputies (513 seats). There are three Senators who represent each Brazilian State while the federal deputies represent the people. These two houses are called the ‘National Congress’ when referred to as a single entity.
- Judicial Branch – There are distinct Justices in Brazil. The Judicial branch is organized in states’ and federal systems with different jurisdictions. The retirement age of judges is 40 years.
The judicial Branch is further divided into:
- States judicial branch (Comarcas)
- Federal judicial branch (Labor Justice
- Electoral Justice
- Military Justice
Brazilian politics is divided between internationalist liberals and statist nationalistics. The liberals stress on the development of the country while the nationalistics rely on interventionism, and protection of state enterprises.