Opinion

Congress system of checks and balances takes a holiday under Bolsonaro

Heads of the House and Senate have been lax in their role of holding President Bolsonaro to account, though there have been some exceptions within Congress

The Senate's Covid inquiry has been one of the rare examples of successful oversight under the Bolsonaro government. Photo: Marcos Oliveira/Agência Senado
The Senate’s Covid inquiry has been one of the rare examples of successful oversight under the Bolsonaro government. Photo: Marcos Oliveira/Agência Senado

In a political system such as Brazil’s, with three branches of government, one of the main functions of Congress is to provide checks and balances on the Executive. In simple terms, this keeps the president and his/her administration in line, stopping them from becoming too powerful in relation to the Legislative or Judicial branches. These checks and balances can come in a variety of ways, from overriding presidential vetoes to the more extreme option of launching impeachment proceedings.

Using these two congressional tools as examples, analysis of data from the last three years suggests that lawmakers have a mixed record...

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