After its end of year holidays, Brazil’s Congress returns to work today, embarking on what is to be a busy 2020. Two key reforms have been championed by the Jair Bolsonaro administration and heads of the legislature, namely the overhaul of Brazil’s byzantine tax system, and a reform of the bloated civil service structure. However, if lawmakers are going to get anything done this year, major advances must be completed by June, as attentions begin to shift to the municipal elections to be held all over the country in the second half of the year.
In order to approve any meaningful measures, the relationship between Congress and the Executive will be key. On this matter, some important data concerning political party discipline and the performance of the Executive branch in Congress were recently released. This new information allows us to make some observations about the political system consolidated in Brazil post-1988, and how it is still in place and functioning.