Power

Thirty days that could shift the power balance of Brazilian politics

Starting today, lawmakers have one month in which they can freely change parties without suffering punishment. These comings and goings could drastically reshape the balance of power in Congress

Thirty days that could shift the power balance of Brazilian politics congress
President Bolsonaro greets lawmakers at the beginning of the 2022 congressional term. Thanks to him, the Liberal Party will see a glut of new representatives in March. Photo: Alan Santos/PR

Today marks an important date for Brazil’s electoral schedule for 2022: the opening of a 30-day window during which members of Congress can switch parties without losing their office.

Per Brazilian electoral law, seats won in proportional elections (such as those for the House, city councils, and state congresses) belong to parties instead of candidates. Outside of the 30-day window, which closes six months prior to Election Day, switching parties is heavily regulated.

Popular presidential candidates tend to help their parties win more congressional seats, with Jair Bolsonaro being among the best examples. In 2018, he helped the once-tiny...

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