Brazilian constitutional referendum, 1963
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A constitutional referendum was held in Brazil on 6 January 1963. Voters were asked whether they approved of a constitutional amendment made in 1961 that transferred many of the President's powers to the National Congress. The changes were rejected by over 80% of voters.
Following the resignation of Jânio Quadros on 25 August 1961 and the resistance of the Armed Forces and the upper classes to allowing left-wing Vice-President João Goulart to take office, a serious crisis developed, which almost resulted in a civil war. Goulart, who had been on an official visit to the People's Republic of China, was forbidden to return to the country.
Due to Goulart's massive popular support, rather than removing Goulart from office, the National Congress proposed an amendment to the 1946 Constitution, changing the form of government from presidentialism to parliamentarianism, reducing the powers of the President and creating a new post of Prime Minister. The amendment was approved and the military suspended their veto over Goulart, which took office on Independence Day in 1961.
However, the system of government, which had been based on the German model, did not work well, due to the hurry in which the amendment was approved. The ambitions of Goulart and his rivals Juscelino Kubitschek and Carlos Lacerda, both of whom were seeking to become President in the forthcoming 1965 elections, also contributed to the failure of parliamentarianism.
Voters were asked "Do you approve the amendment that established parliamentarism?" ("Aprova o ato adicional que instituiu o parlamentarismo?").
|Source: Direct Democracy|
- Brazil, 6 January 1963: Parliamentary system Direct Democracy (German)
- A ditadura militar no Brasil, Volume 3 - Jango: Ascenção e queda, p. 72, São Paulo, Caros Amigos Editora, 2007.
- "The military and the 1963 referendum" by Demian Melo (Portuguese)