Opinion

How effective are Brazil’s congressional hearings committees?

As the Senate is set to kick off the Covid hearings, we examine how these committees actually serve their purpose, beyond the political bluster

cpi hearings effective
The Fake News CPI was suspended during the pandemic and has failed to bear any fruits. Photo: Lula Marques/APT

The Senate’s newly-created hearings committee to investigate the government’s pandemic response is set to formally elect its chairman and rapporteur this week, officially kicking off the investigation process. Senators critical of the Jair Bolsonaro administration will take key spots, with Randolfe Rodrigues to be appointed deputy chair, and seasoned operator Renan Calheiros as rapporteur. These early moves boosted the hopes of anti-Bolsonaro observers regarding the committee’s ability to hold the federal government accountable

But how effective will the investigation be? The country’s past experience with congressional hearings committees (known in Brazil as CPIs) suggests the path to accountability is...

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