Power

Brazilian parties plan to overhaul the political system. For the worse

A House committee passed a political reform bill, but its terms will further weaken political parties — and erode Brazilian democracy

parties reform risks democracy
House floor during a sitting this week. Photo: Cleia Viana/CD/CC-BY 4.0

Brazilians nowadays agree on very few things when it comes to politics. One of them seems to be that the current political system gives birth to multiple dysfunctions — notably allowing roughly 30 parties to occupy House seats, a configuration that forces any government to compromise its agenda in order to obtain a minimally-functioning — and always unstable — coalition.

Despite its many flaws, the current Brazilian system for congressional races was created so as to democratize legislative representation, a goal it achieves better than systems adopted in the U.S. and the United Kingdom (first-past-the-post) or the French model (majoritarian,...

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