Why are Brazilian lawmakers seen in such a negative light?

Congress spearheaded much of Brazil's response to the coronavirus pandemic. Yet, public perception of lawmakers has fallen as of recently

congress popularity bolsonaro
Protest in favor of President Jair Bolsonaro and against federal lawmakers. Photo: Tatiane Silva/Shutterstock

An increasing share of Brazilian citizens has a negative opinion of Congress. A poll by PoderData from December 2020 indicates that 38 percent of those interviewed described legislators’ work as “bad” or “terrible,” as opposed to 31 percent in August of the same year. Only 13 percent of citizens deemed Congress’ performance as “good” or “excellent,” three percentage points less than in August.

Indeed, that the approval of Congress would decrease while the Legislative branch — and not the Executive — is leading the country through a deadly pandemic seems counterintuitive.

But what explains this mismatch between public...

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