Brazilian constitutional referendum, 1993

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The 1993 Brazilian constitutional referendum was held on April 21, 1993 to determine the form of government of the country.[1] After the re-democratization of Brazil, an article in the new Constitution determined the holding of a referendum for voters to decide if the country should have a republican or a monarchical form of Government, and if the system of Government should be that of a presidential Executive or that of parliamentary government.

The Constitution further specified that Congress, sitting in joint session, would be empowered to effect a revision of the Constitution in 1994 by a mere absolute majority, instead of the qualified majority procedure with separate votes in both Houses of Congress that is usually required for constitutional amendments; any change in the constitutional regime of Government decided during the referendum would be adopted during the said constitutional revision.

Federal Law n° 8.624, signed into law by President Itamar Franco on February 4, 1993, regulated the holding of the referendum.[2]

An overwhelming majority of voters favoured the republican regime and the presidential system, as the country had been ruled for 104 years since the Proclamation of the Republic on November 15, 1889 - apart from a brief parliamentarian experience between 1961 and 1963,[3] which had also been defeated in a referendum. In spite of heavy campaigning on TV and radio, turnout was relatively small (74.3%), considering that voting is compulsory in the country.

Origin[edit]

The attempted resurrection of the imperial regime came from federal deputy Antônio Henrique Bittencourt da Cunha Bueno (from São Paulo's Social Democratic Party), a member of the Constituent Assembly which approved the Constitution which put an end to the military regime.[1] A monarchist since a child, and son of Antônio Sílvio Cunha Bueno, one of SDP's founders in São Paulo, he decided to propose to his fellow deputies the hold of a referendum to give the people the possibility to choose the form of government they preferred.[1] His main argument was that during the reign of Pedro II, Brazil had experienced a period of great stability.[1] Surprisingly, his proposal was included in the new Constitution.[1] Bueno managed to convince the Constituent Assembly that, since the Republic had been proclaimed in Brazil by means of a military coup d'état in 1889, without any say of the people, the Brazilian Nation should be given the chance of deciding the form of Government of their choice. Given that, when the Constitution was approved in 1988, the country was in a process of return to democracy after a long military regime, the idea of giving the people the opportunity to decide their form of Government (either choosing the restoration of the Monarchy or opting for the Republic, an option that would give popular legitimacy to a form of Government that had been first imposed in a military coup) gained wide support in the Constituent Assembly. Also, several members of the Assembly were in favour of a parliamentary republic (the original drafts of the Constitution provided for a parliamentary system of Government within a republic, but a vote by the Assembly altered the draft so as to preserve the presidential Executive); those members of the Assembly who favored a parliamentary model and who had been defeated in the system of Government vote then supported the proposal that led to the inclusion in the Constitution of the provision summoning the referendum. The supporters of a parliamentary republic, who desired only a referendum on the system of Government (parliamentary or presidential) voted in favour of Bueno's proposal for a question also dealing with the form of Government (monarchy or republic), because they reckoned that all monarchists would also vote for a parliamentary model in the system of government question.

On May 1992, Bueno launched the Parliamentary Monarchist Movement alongside Pedro Gastão of Orléans-Braganza, then head of the Petrópolis branch of the Brazilian Imperial Family and one of the two claimants to the Brazilian throne.[1] According to him, only petistas were able to rival the monarchist militancy.[1] On February 4, 1993, President Itamar Franco signed into law the bill N° 8.624, which regulated the holding of the referendum.[2]

Campaign[edit]

According to some polling institutes, the monarchist campaign was able to obtain the support of 22% of the voters in 1992. Concerned about this, the main political parties at that time, such as PT, PFL, PMDB and PTB formed the so-called Presidential Front on one side and the Parliamentary Front (PSDB) at the other side in order to oppose the ambitions of royalist groups. In spite of the defeat obtained by the monarchist movement, their slogan Vote for the king (Portuguese: Vote n'o rei!) became one of the most well known in the history of Brazilian electoral campaigns, and a surprising share of 13.4% of the voters supported a monarchical regime.

Results[edit]

Valid votes[edit]

Monarchical regime:
6,843,196 (13.4%)
Republican regime:
44,266,608 (86.6%)
Parliamentary system:
16,518,028 (30.8%)
Presidential system:
37,156,884 (69.2%)

Total votes[edit]

State results[edit]

State Electorate Abstention % Monarchy % Republic % Null votes % Blank votes %
Acre 237,001 102,191 43.1% 11,292 11.1% 90,520 88.9% 14,376 10.6% 18,622 13.8%
Alagoas 1,041,236 325,352 31.2% 64,326 13.4% 414,747 86.6% 142,350 19.8% 94,461 13.2%
Amapá 169,409 73,832 43.6% 8,838 10.8% 72.743 90.2% 5,554 5.8% 8,442 8.8%
Amazonas 1,012,167 470,406 46.5% 63,575 13.9% 394,427 86.1% 33,207 6.1% 50,552 9.3%
Bahia 6,701,268 3,052,930 48.5% 247,454 9.4% 2,371,859 90.6% 494,347 13.5% 534,678 14.6%
Ceará 3,809,457 1,332,959 35.0% 212,748 11.4% 1,655,965 88.6% 295,062 11.9% 312,723 12.6%
Espírito Santo 1,618,431 382,081 23.7% 134,398 14.8% 773,667 85.2% 188,417 10.8% 139,868 11.3%
Federal District 908,429 144,507 15.9% 69,552 11.2% 550,285 88.8% 94,667 12.4% 49,418 6.4%
Goiás 2,514,553 766,846 30.4% 174,937 13.0% 1,171,341 87.0% 215,623 12.3% 185,806 10.6%
Maranhão 2,590,598 1,518,669 58.6% 63,094 7.3% 799,739 92.7% 85,181 7.9% 123,915 11.5%
Mato Grosso 1,196,767 480,481 40.2% 75,689 13.7% 477,506 86.3% 73,411 10.2% 89,680 12.5%
Mato Grosso do Sul 1,127,470 288,838 25.6% 92,456 14.2% 559,890 85.8% 96,569 11.5% 89,717 10.7%
Minas Gerais 10,116,428 2,258,639 22.3% 731,714 12.8% 4,993,712 87.2% 1,200,918 15.3% 931,445 11.8%
Pará 2,616,490 1,260,558 48.2% 153,898 14.3% 922,941 85.7% 113,001 8.3% 166,092 12.2%
Paraíba 1,986,739 660,655 33.2% 82,876 8.7% 866,191 91.3% 201,175 15.2% 175,842 13.3%
Paraná 5,495,947 1,189,892 21.7% 420,276 12.8% 2,855,862 87.2% 611,048 14.2% 418,869 9.7%
Pernambuco 4,247,205 1,357,513 32.0% 222,020 11.1% 1,787,302 88.9% 481,357 16.6% 399,013 13.8%
Piauí 1,857,832 613,604 33.0% 48,059 4.8% 951,774 95.2% 103,191 8.3% 141,204 11.3%
Rio de Janeiro 8,732,024 1,541,654 17.6% 938,964 16.3% 4,821,310 83.7% 842,977 11.7% 587,119 8.2%
Rio Grande do Norte 1,417,805 441,848 31.2% 58,936 8.7% 620,418 91.3% 170,266 17.4% 126,337 12.9%
Rio Grande do Sul 6,069,273 941,185 15.6% 372,469 8.8% 3,835,721 91.1% 403,378 7.9% 516,520 10.1%
Rondônia 661,331 331,660 50.1% 37,226 14.9% 213,098 85.1% 35,000 10.6% 44,347 13.4%
Roraima 101,947 42,465 41.7% 5,121 10.5% 43,872 89.5% 4,093 6.8% 6,396 10.7%
Santa Catarina 2,974,926 507,669 17.0% 272,577 14.5% 1,611,149 85.5% 343,173 13.9% 240,328 9.7%
São Paulo 19,812,705 2,538,737 12.8% 2,210,203 16.6% 11,109,007 83.4% 2,487,620 14.4% 1,467,136 8.5%
Sergipe 891,788 291,995 32.7% 48,252 11.5% 372,350 88.5% 109,413 18.2% 69,778 11.6%
Tocantins 621,900 348,574 56.1% 19,601 9.3% 191,524 90.7% 23,442 8.6% 38,759 14.2%

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g (Portuguese) Nunes, Branca. "Entre o parlamentarismo e a monarquia, o Brasil resolveu continuar presidencialista". Blog Caça ao Voto. Veja. October 15, 2010.
  2. ^ a b (Portuguese) Presidency of the Republic - Law N° 8624, 4 February 1993.
  3. ^ (Portuguese) Agência Senado. "Presidencialismo nasceu com a República e foi confirmado por plebiscito em 1993". Federal Senate. August 13, 2010.
  4. ^ a b (Portuguese) Results at the Brazilian Institute for Monarchy Studies of Rio Grande do Sul. Source: Supreme Electoral Court.