The presidential election has passed, with Jair Bolsonaro’s win threatening to shake up the traditional political order in Brazil. Many pundits and experts have drawn up potential scenarios, plotting what the future government will look like. However, another two elections will truly define the future of Jair Bolsonaro’s administration, scheduled for February 1 and 2 of 2019.
Working with a system of “coalition presidentialism,” in Brazil, the elections for the House Speaker and Senate President are just as important as picking the president. Though ignored by all but a sliver of the Brazilian electorate, these are the disputes which will dictate the success or failure of the Jair Bolsonaro government.
It is difficult to underestimate the importance of the leaders in Congress. Nothing gets passed in the Brazilian legislature without the approval of the House Speaker and Senate President. They have the power to decide which bills are voted on and when. And if the leader is canny, absolutely nothing will be put to a floor vote if there is even a remote chance of it not being passed.