Domestic Politics in Brazil

By | March 22, 2021


At the end of 2018, the majority of eligible voters elected Jair Bolsonaro as President of the Republic. Bolsonaro, who until then had been an insignificant member of the Bundestag and without any notable success in the National Congress, became, after being circulated through various parties, the ultimate representative of an insignificant party (PSL).

As a right-wing extremist politician with an economically liberal agenda, Bolsonaro announced during the election campaign that the ultra- liberal economist Paulo Guedes would be his economics minister. Guedes is at the head of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, which also includes 6 state secretariats, including the secretariats for agriculture, planning, trade and international affairs. That is why he is called “super minister”.

Another prominent name of the Bolsonaro government is Sergio Moro, best known as the first judge of the Brazilian anti-corruption operation Lava Jato. Moro was responsible in the first instance for the conviction of former President Lula. In the Bolsonaro government, Moro was in command of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security.

The influences of Jair Bolsonaro’s sons can be seen in various important government decisions. Flávio Bolsonaro (elected Senator of the Republic), Eduardo Bolsonaro (Federal Member of Parliament) and Carlos Bolsonaro (City Councilor for the city of Rio de Janeiro) form a triad of decisive influence on the executive branch.

Bolsonaro’s sons are – like himself – embroiled in controversial issues. Political aggression against government institutions, opponents and women can be seen in their discourses. As soon as the government began its work, Flávio Bolsonaro was brought to the fore by state investigations. Complaints about corruption, gang formation and money laundering are occurring and continuing.

Father and sons support and defend each other in their controversial actions. Political analysts see in this family constellation the possibility of creating a ” Bolsonaro dynasty “.

Brazilian democracy has suffered severe blows in recent years. The impeachment moved Dilma Rousseff (PT) from the presidency of the Republic in 2016, which was replaced by Vice President Michel Temer (MDB) on a transitional basis until the next regular election, in October 2018th

Former President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) was not allowed to compete for president in these elections, which are among the most turbulent electoral events in recent Brazilian history. His candidacy was withdrawn by the judiciary in the course of the presidential elections after being convicted of corruption charges.

The then judge Sergio Moro, who sentenced Lula, is now under suspicion himself of having been biased and of having passed a politically motivated judgment without sufficient evidence. In the polls, over 35% of those polled intended to vote for Lula. While all other candidates – including Bolsonaro – had less than 10%.

After Lula was prevented, other candidates became more prominent. Jair Bolsonaro uses right-wing populist and ultra-conservative language, and with the support of three main groups of conservative forces, the evangelicals, the landowners and the military, he was elected President of the Republic.

Location of Brazil in South America

Location of Brazil in South America

Past governments

On January 1, 2015, Dilma Rousseff took up her second term as head of state. She knew that the country needed reforms, among other things to combat rising inflation (2014: 6.5%) and to stimulate the economy. The social protests of 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 show that the population is demanding more jobs, better education and health systems, less crime and an end to corruption from the state. Unfortunately, Brazil fell into a deep political crisis due to numerous corruption scandals in which leading politicians from several parties and the largest company in the country, the semi-state oil producer Petrobras, are involved are. In addition, the country fell into a deep recession during Rouseff’s term of office (2011-2016), the cause of which is not only to be found in the corruption scandals that paralyzed the country in the recent past, but also the fall in commodity prices on the international market, mismanagement and Lack of structural reform.

On April 17, 2016, the Brazilian parliament voted in favor of impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff, and on May 12, the Senate voted 55 to 22 in favor of the provisional suspension of the President. The left-liberal politician of the Labor Party (PT) was released from office for 180 days. Meanwhile, the Senate was investigating allegations of budget manipulation against them. Michel Temer, the ex-vice-president, takes over the presidency until the Senate has decided on the final impeachment of Rousseff.

Dilma Rousseff dismissed the allegations of fining the budget numbers and unapproved lending by Congress and called her impeachment a “coup”. Nevertheless, on August 31, the Senate voted 61 to 20 for the impeachment of Dilma Rousseffs. His successor, until the next presidential election in 2018, will be the previous Vice President Michel Temer of the Party of the Democratic Movement (PMDB), which pursues liberal-conservative politics. After 13 years of government under the leadership of the left-wing Labor Party (PT), the country is facing a change of direction. As a country located in South America according to ethnicityology, Brazil is expected to be ruled by its old elites until 2018.

The Temer government is trying to restructure the budget and overcome the economic crisis by restricting government spending and implementing further neoliberal reforms, thereby regaining confidence both nationally and internationally. The reforms are necessary, but place too heavy a burden on the working class without dissolving or reducing certain privileges of state employees (civil servants, military employees, etc.) and politicians, e.g. B. as part of the comprehensive pension reform. The new labor law and pension reforms have sparked a wave of protests in several cities across the country. According to workers’ associations and unions, labor law reform will restrict workers’ rights and benefit companies. The indigenous people protesting against the reduction of the budget for the National Endowment of the indigenous (FUNAI), which is responsible for protecting the indigenous population. The government is playing into the hands of the agricultural lobby in particular, which has long wanted to curtail the rights of indigenous peoples on some land. It is not surprising that in a survey in April 2017 on the quality of the federal government, 75% rated it as bad or very bad.

According to the director of the world’s largest meat producer JBS, his company has bribed 1,829 politicians from 28 parties, including two former presidents (Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff) and the current head of state, Michel Temer. Now this has been suspected of corruption since mid-May (2017). According to the Brazilian media, the president has approved hush money payments to hinder the judicial investigation into the so-called “Lava Jato” operation. On May 18, the Supreme Court approved an investigation against the head of state. There are protests across the country, and the demonstrators are demanding resignation of the president and are calling for immediate new elections, the former has so far been rejected by Temer. However, the Brazilian constitution of 1988 does not provide for direct new elections following the resignation of a president.