How to bring balance to relations between Brazil’s Executive and Legislative branches

The secret budget introduced by President Bolsonaro has fundamentally shifted the balance of power between the Executive and Legislative branches in Brazil. Re-establishing a balanced relationship will be no easy task

congress bolsonaro
Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco (left) and House Speaker Arthur Lira concentrate enormous amount of power. Photo: Jefferson Rudy/SF

The Executive branch is no longer the center of power in Brazilian politics. Although this shift started in 2015, it accelerated considerably during President Jair Bolsonaro’s tenure. 

If elected this year, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will face the challenge of reestablishing the balance of power among the Executive and Legislative branches — an arduous task given the amount of power legislators have obtained with the so-called secret budget.

Political scientist Carlos Pereira has argued that such a task involves, first and foremost, changing the fact that individual and collective congressional budgetary grants became mandatory in 2015 and 2019,...

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