Explaining Brazil #205: Bolsonaro is throwing money at his problems

The Brazilian president wants to sidestep election laws to jack up spending ahead of the election. Columnist Beatriz Rey warns of the risks of giving him such powers

Election regulations in Brazil forbid sitting presidents, governors, and mayors from creating or enhancing social policies in election years. The rationale is pretty straightforward. The rules aim at leveling the playing field by preventing the use of the public purse directly for electoral gains. In the past, politicians in Brazil essentially used social policies as vote-for-cash schemes. There are, of course, still loopholes in the rules. One of them is if the country is in a state of emergency. The Bolsonaro administration, with the help of party leaders in Congress, has tried to take advantage of that loophole.

Listen and subscribe to our podcast from your mobile device:

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Deezer


  • Beatriz Rey writes a bi-monthly column for The Brazilian Report. She is an SNF Agora Visiting Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and an APSA Congressional Fellow (2021-2022), and holds a Ph.D. in political science from Syracuse University and an M.A. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

This episode used music from Uppbeat. License codes: FWAKT7SUVTHWV2VE

Background reading:

Do you have a suggestion for our next Explaining Brazil podcast? Drop us a line at [email protected]

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.