DEMOCRACY AND STABILITY
Brazil has a consolidated democracy, based on sound institutions, with a stable political environment that guarantees individual rights. With more than five centuries of history, the country combines a high degree of institutional, political and economic maturity with an immense potential for growth and investment.
Over the past 20 years, democratic stability has prevailed and the country has gone through six regular presidential elections. In the 2010 elections, the country elected a female president for the first time in its history.
Social citizenship and freedom of speech and press are essential components of Brazilian democracy, along with a foreign policy that advocates peace, development, human rights, multilateralism and South-American integration.
Brazil is a federal presidential republic and constitutional democracy. Since a return to democracy in the early 1980s, Brazil has sought to improve accountability and ensure a strict separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches. In 1988, Brazil adopted a new Constitution, which is Brazil’s highest law of the country. The Constitution enshrines liberal democracy in Brazil.
The power of the Executive Branch is vested in the President of the Republic, who is elected by direct popular vote in a two-round system, for a 4-year term, with the right to one re-election. If no candidate obtains the absolute majority of valid votes, a runoff is held with only the top two candidates. The President is responsible for appointing the Cabinet.
The Legislative power is vested in the National Congress, which is comprised of the Federal Senate (81 senators elected by majority vote for an 8-year term) and the Chamber of Deputies (513 deputies elected by proportional vote for a 4-year term).
The Judicial Branch consists of the Supreme Court (Constitutional Court); the Superior Court of Justice; Federal Regional Courts and Federal Judges; Labor Courts and Judges; Electoral Courts and Judges; Military Courts and Judges; and Courts and Judges of the States and of the Federal District. Brazil’s judiciary is independent from both the executive and legislative branches. The highest level is the Federal Supreme Court. Supreme Court Justices are appointed by the President upon vacancies arising following the retirement or death of an incumbent.
26 states (Acre, Alagoas, Amapá, Amazonas, Bahia, Ceará, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Pará, Paraíba, Paraná, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, Rondônia, Roraima, Santa Catarina, São Paulo, Sergipe, and Tocantins) and the Federal District.