National Congress of Brazil

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National Congress
Congresso Nacional
55th Legislature of the National Congress
Coat of arms of Brazil.svg
Type
Type
Houses Federal Senate
Chamber of Deputies
History
Founded 6 May 1826
Leadership
Renan CalheirosPMDB
since February 1, 2013
Eduardo Cunha, PMDB
since February 1, 2015
Structure
Seats 594
81 senators
513 deputies
Composition of the Federal Senate
Federal Senate political groups
Chamber of Deputies political groups
Elections
Federal Senate last election
5 October 2014
Chamber of Deputies last election
5 October 2014
Meeting place
National Congress Building
Brasília, Federal District, Brazil
Website
Federal Senate
Chamber of Deputies

The National Congress (Portuguese: Congresso Nacional) is the legislative body of Brazil's federal government. Unlike the state Legislative Assemblies and Municipal Chambers, the Congress is bicameral, composed of the Federal Senate (the upper house) and the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house). The Congress meets annually in its Brasília seat from 2 February to 27 July and from 1 August to 22 December.

The Senate represents the 26 states and the Federal District. Each state and the Federal District has a representation of three Senators, who are elected by popular ballot for a term of eight years. Every four years, renewal of either one third or two-thirds of the Senate (and of the delegations of the States and the Federal District) takes place.

The Chamber of Deputies represents the people of each state, and its members are elected for a four-year term by a proportional representation. Seats are allotted proportionally according to each state's population, with each state eligible for a minimum of 8 seats (least populous) and a maximum of 70 seats (most populous). Unlike the Senate, the whole of the Chamber of Deputies is renewed every four years.

Until recently it was common for politicians to switch parties and the proportion of congressional seats held by each party would often change. However, a decision of the Supremo Tribunal Federal has ruled that the seats belong to the parties and not to the politicians, and that one can only change parties and retain his seat in a very limited set of cases. Consequently politicians who abandon the party for which they were elected now face the loss of their Congressional seat.

Each house of the Brazilian Congress elects its President and the other members of its directing board from among its members.

The President of the Senate (currently Senator Renan Calheiros) is ex officio the President of the National Congress, and in that capacity summons and presides over joint sessions, as well as over the joint services of both Houses. The President of the Chamber (currently Eduardo Cunha) is second in the presidential line of succession while the President of the Senate (and of Congress) is third.

Houses[edit]

Coat of arms of Brazil.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Brazil
Foreign relations

Federal Senate[edit]

The Federal Senate (Portuguese: Senado Federal) is the upper house of the National Congress. Created by the first Constitution of the Brazilian Empire in 1824, it was inspired in United Kingdom's House of Lords, but with the Proclamation of the Republic in 1889 it became closer to the United States Senate.

Currently, the Senate comprises 81 seats. Three Senators from each of the 26 states and three Senators from the Federal District are elected on a majority basis to serve eight-year terms. Elections are staggered so that two-thirds of the upper house is up for election at one time and the remaining one-third four years later. When one seat is up for election in each State, each voter casts one vote for the Senate; when two seats are up for election, each voter casts two votes, and the voter cannot give his two votes for the same candidate, but, in elections for the renewal of two-thirds of the Senate, each party can present two candidates for election. The candidate in each State and the Federal District (or the first two candidates, when two thirds of the seats are up for election) who achieve the greatest plurality of votes are elected.

Chamber of Deputies[edit]

The Chamber of Deputies (Câmara dos Deputados) is the lower house of the National Congress, it is composed of 513 federal deputies, who are elected by a proportional representation of votes to serve a four-year term. Seats are allotted proportionally according to each state's population, with each state eligible for a minimum of 8 seats (least populous) and a maximum of 70 seats (most populous).

In 2010, 22 out of the country's 27 political parties were able to elect at least one representative in the Chamber, while fifteen of them were able to elect at least one Senator.

See the Latest election section for election results table.

The building[edit]

In early 1900s, the Brazilian National Congress happened to be in separate buildings. The Senate was located near Railway Central Station, beside the Republica's Square, at Moncorvo Filho Street, where there is today a Federal University of Rio de Janeiro students' center. The Federal Chamber of Deputies was located at Misericórdia Street, which would later be the location of the State of Rio de Janeiro's local Chamber of Deputies. From the 1930s to early 1960s, the Senate occupied the Monroe Palace, which was demolished in the 1970s to allow the construction of the subway Cinelândia station. The Federal Chamber of Deputies moved to Brasília in early 1960s as well, but for a couple of years temporarily occupied a building near the Municipal Theater.

Since the 1960s, the National Congress has been located in Brasília. As with most of the city's government buildings, the National Congress building was designed by Oscar Niemeyer in the modern Brazilian style.

The semi-sphere on the left is the seat of the Senate, and the semi-sphere on the right is the seat of the Chamber of the Deputies. Between them are two vertical office towers. The Congress also occupies other surrounding office buildings, some of them interconnected by a tunnel.

The building is located in the middle of the Monumental Axis, main street of Brasília. In front of it there is a large lawn where demonstrations take place. At the back of it, is the Praça dos Três Poderes, where lies the Palácio do Planalto and the Supremo Tribunal Federal.

On December 6, 2007, the Institute of Historic and Artistic National Heritage (Portuguese: Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional) decided to declare the building of the National Congress a historical heritage of the Brazilian people. The building is also among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as part of Brasília's original urban buildings, since 1987.

Similar high-rises[edit]

At least two other high-rise buildings are similar to the National Congress building:

Gallery[edit]

Coordinates: 15°47′59″S 47°51′51″W / 15.79972°S 47.86417°W / -15.79972; -47.86417

Latest election[edit]

e • d Summary of the 5 October 2014 National Congress election results
Coalition Parties Chamber Senate
Votes % of votes Seats % of seats +/– Votes % of votes Elected seats Total seats % of seats +/–
Pro-government
Coalition With the
Strength of the People
(Coligação Com a Força do Povo)
  Worker's Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores, PT) 13.554.166 14,00% 70 13,65% –18 15.155.818 17,00% 2 12 14,81% –2
  Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro, PMDB) 10.791.949 11,15% 66 12,87% –13 12.129.969 13,61% 5 18 22,22% –2
  Social Democratic Party (Partido Social Democrático, PSD) 5.967.953 6,16% 37 7,21% New 7.147.245 8,02% 2 3 3,70% New
  Progressive Party (Partido Progressista, PP) 6.178.949 6,38% 36 7,02% –5 1.931.738 2,17% 1 5 6,17% ±0
  Republic Party (Partido da República, PR) 5.633.054 5,82% 34 6,63% –7 696.462 0,78% 1 4 4,94% ±0
  Brazilian Republican Party (Partido Republicano Brasileiro, PRB) 4.408.641 4,55% 21 4,09% +13 301.162 0,34% 0 1 1,23% ±0
  Democratic Labour Party (Partido Democrático Trabalhista, PDT) 3.469.168 3,58% 19 3,70% –9 3.609.643 4,05% 4 8 9,88% +4
  Republican Party of the Social Order (Partido Republicano da Ordem Social, PROS) 1.977.117 2,04% 11 2,14% New 2.234.132 2,51% 0 1 1,23% New
  Communist Party of Brazil (Partido Comunista do Brasil, PC do B) 1.913.015 1,98% 10 1,95% –5 803.144 0,90% 0 1 1,23% −1
Total 53.894.012 55,66% 304 59,26% +4 44.009.313 49,36% 15 53 65,43% +3
Opposition
Coalition Change Brazil
(Coligação Muda Brasil)
  Brazilian Social Democratic Party (Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira, PSDB) 11.071.772 11,43% 54 10,53% +1 23.880.078 26,79% 4 10 12,35% −1
  Brazilian Labour Party (Partido Trabalhista Brasileiro, PTB) 3.914.193 4,04% 25 4,87% +4 2.803.999 3,15% 2 3 2,47% −3
  Democrats (Democratas, DEM) 4.080.757 4,21% 22 3,94% –21 3.515.426 4,29% 3 5 6,17% −1
  Solidarity (Solidariedade, SD) 2.637.961 2,72% 15 2,92% New 370.507 0,42% 0 1 1,23% New
  National Labour Party (Partido Trabalhista Nacional, PTN) 720.878 0,74% 4 0,78% +4 2.741 0,00% 0 0 0,00% ±0
  Party of National Mobilization (Partido da Mobilização Nacional, PMN) 467.777 0,48% 3 0,58% –1 57.911 0,06% 0 0 0,00% −1
  National Ecologic Party (Partido Ecológico Nacional, PEN) 663.108 0,69% 2 0,39% New 65.597 0,07% 0 0 0,00% New
  Christian Labour Party (Partido Trabalhista Cristão, PTC) 338.117 0,35% 2 0,39% +1 21.993 0,02% 0 0 0,00% ±0
  Labour Party of Brazil (Partido Trabalhista do Brasil, PT do B) 812.206 0,84% 1 0,19% –2 11.300 0,01% 0 0 0,00% ±0
Total 24.706.769 25,52% 128 24,95% +3 30.729.552 34,47% 9 19 23,46% −5
Opposition
Coalition United for Brazil
(Coligação Unidos pelo Brasil)
  Brazilian Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Brasileiro, PSB) 6.267.878 6,47% 34 6,63% ±0 12.123.194 13,60% 3 7 8,64% +4
  Popular Socialist Party (Partido Popular Socialista, PPS) 1.955.490 2,02% 10 1,95% –2 0 0,00% 0 0 0,00% −1
  Humanist Party of Solidarity (Partido Humanista da Solidariedade, PHS) 917.647 0,95% 5 0,97% +3 0 0,00% 0 0 0,00% ±0
  Progressive Republican Party (Partido Republicano Progressista, PRP) 723.965 0,75% 3 0,58% +1 170.527 0,19% 0 0 0,00% ±0
  Social Liberal Party (Partido Social Liberal, PSL) 808.710 0,84% 1 0,19% ±0 0 0,00% 0 0 0,00% ±0
  Free Homeland Party (Partido Pátria Livre, PPL) 141.254 0,15% 0 0,0% New 29.366 0,03% 0 0 0,00% ±0
Total 10.814.944 11,17% 53 10,33% +2 12.323.087 13,82 3 7 8,64% +3
Out of coalition (Fora de coligação)   Social Christian Party (Partido Social Cristão, PSC) 2.448.898 2,53% 12 2,34% –5 19.286 0,02% 0 0 0,00% −1
  Green Party (Partido Verde, PV) 2.004.464 2,07% 8 1,56% –7 536.978 0,60% 0 1 1,23% +1
  Socialism and Freedom Party (Partido Socialismo e Liberdade, PSOL) 1.745.470 1,80% 5 0,97% +2 1.045.275 1,17% 0 1 1,23% −1
  Christian Social Democratic Party (Partido Social Democrata Cristão, PSDC) 500.021 0,52% 2 0,39% +2 31.011 0,03% 0 0 0,00% ±0
  Brazilian Labour Renewal Party (Partido Renovador Trabalhista Brasileiro, PRTB) 450.393 0,47% 1 0,19% –1 38.429 0,04% 0 0 0,00% ±0
  United Socialist Workers' Party (Partido Socialista dos Trabalhadores Unificado, PSTU) 182.760 0,19% 0 0,00% ±0 345.200 0,39% 0 0 0,00% ±0
  Brazilian Communist Party (Partido Comunista Brasileiro, PCB) 66.615 0,07% 0 0,00% ±0 68199 0,08% 0 0 0,00% ±0
  Workers' Cause Party (Partido da Causa Operária, PCO) 12.969 0,01% 0 0,00% ±0 8.561 0,01% 0 0 0,00% ±0
Total valid votes 96.827.315 100,00% 513 100,00% ±0 89.154.621 100,00% 27 81 100,00% ±0
Sources: Chamber, Senate

Legislatures[edit]

The Legislatures are counted from the first meeting of the Chamber of Deputies and of the Senate, on 6 May 1826, in the imperial era (the Chamber of Deputies met for preparatory sessions from 29 April 1826 onwards to elect its officers and conduct other preliminary business, but the Legislature was formally opened on 6 May). The Chamber of Deputies and the Senate were created by Brazil's first Constitution, the Constitution of the Empire of Brazil, adopted in 1824. The previous Constituent and Legislative Assembly of the Empire of Brazil, a unicameral National Assembly, that was convened in 1823 and that was dissolved by Emperor Pedro I before adopting a Constitution is not counted among the Legislatures. Thus, the numbering includes only the bicameral Legislatures that existed from 1826 to the present day, and includes only Legislatures elected after the adoption of the first Brazilian Constitution.

In the imperial era, the national legislature was named General Assembly. It was made up of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. Senators were elected for life and the Senate was a permanent institution, whereas the Chamber of Deputies, unless dissolved earlier, was elected every four years. When Brazil became a Republic and a Federal State the model of a bicameral Legislature was retained at the Federal level, but the Parliament was renamed National Congress. The National Congress is made up of the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate. Both Houses have fixed terms and cannot be dissolved earlier. Under Brazil's present Constitution, adopted in 1988, Senators are elected to eight-year terms, and Deputies are elected every four years.

The numbering of the Legislatures is continuous, including the Legislatures of the imperial General Assembly and of the republican National Congress. The inauguration of a new composition of Chamber of Deputies for a four-year term of office marks the start of a new Legislature.

Legislature Period Legislature Period Legislature Period Legislature Period Legislature Period
1st Legislature 1826 - 1829 13th Legislature 1867 - 1868 25th Legislature 1900 - 1902 37th Legislature 1935 - 1937 49th Legislature 1991 - 1995
2nd Legislature 1830 - 1833 14th Legislature 1869 - 1872 26th Legislature 1903 - 1905 38th Legislature 1946 - 1950 50th Legislature 1995 - 1999
3rd Legislature 1834 - 1837 15th Legislature 1872 - 1875 27th Legislature 1906 - 1908 39th Legislature 1951 - 1954 51st Legislature 1999 - 2003
4th Legislature 1838 - 1841 16th Legislature 1876 - 1877 28th Legislature 1909 - 1911 40th Legislature 1955 - 1958 52nd Legislature 2003 - 2007
5th Legislature 1842 - 1844 17th Legislature 1878 - 1881 29th Legislature 1912 - 1914 41st Legislature 1959 - 1962 53rd Legislature 2007 - 2011
6th Legislature 1845 - 1847 18th Legislature 1882 - 1884 30th Legislature 1915 - 1917 42nd Legislature 1963 - 1967 54th Legislature 2011 - 2015
7th Legislature 1848 - 1848 19th Legislature 1885 - 1885 31st Legislature 1918 - 1920 43rd Legislature 1967 - 1970 55th Legislature 2015 - 2019
8th Legislature 1849 - 1852 20th Legislature 1886 - 1889 32nd Legislature 1921 - 1923 44th Legislature 1971 - 1975
9th Legislature 1853 - 1856 21st Legislature 1890 - 1891 33rd Legislature 1924 - 1926 45th Legislature 1975 - 1979
10th Legislature 1857 - 1860 22nd Legislature 1891 - 1893 34th Legislature 1927 - 1929 46th Legislature 1979 - 1983
11th Legislature 1861 - 1863 23rd Legislature 1894 - 1896 35th Legislature 1930 - 1930 47th Legislature 1983 - 1987
12th Legislature 1864 - 1866 24st Legislature 1897 - 1899 36th Legislature 1933 - 1935 48th Legislature 1987 - 1991

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]