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The National Congress of Brasil (Portuguese: Congresso Nacional do Brasil) is the supreme legislative body of Brazil. Unlike regional legislative bodies - Legislative Assemblies and City Councils -, the Congress is bicameral, composed of the Federal Senate (the upper house) and the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house).

The Senate represents the 26 states and the Federal District, and its members are elected by a majority of the votes. The Chamber of Deputies represents the people of each state, and its members are elected by a proportional representation of votes. This is due to federalism being adopted as the form of government in the country. The Congress meets annually in its Brasília seat from 2 February to 27 July and from 1 August to 22 December. Until Constitutional Amendment number 50 of February 2006, this period was from 15 February to 30 June and from 1 August to 15 December (according to internal rules of the Chamber of Deputies).

Until recently, it was common for politicians to switch parties, and the proportion of congressional seats held by each party would often change. However, a decision of the Supremo Tribunal Federal has regulated that the terms belongs to the parties and not to the politicians.

The President of the National Congress is the President of the Senate (currently José Sarney), once the President of the Chamber (currently Michel Temer) is the third in the presidential line of succession.




Federal Senate

National Congress of Brazil building

The Federal Senate contains 81 seats; three for each state plus the Federal District. Senators are chosen through direct election by a majority of the votes to serve an eight-year term. Elections are scheduled so that two-thirds of the upper house is up for election at once and the remaining one-third four years later.

Chamber of Deputies

The Chamber of Deputies comprises 513 federal deputies, who are elected by a proportional representation of votes to serve a four-year term. Elections are based on a complex system of proportional representation by states. The seats are allotted proportionally according to each state's population, but each state is eligible for a minimum of eight seats (least populated) and a maximum of 70 seats (most populated).

The building

National Congress of Brazil.jpg

Since the 1960s, the National Congress has its seat in Brasília. As most of the government buildings in the city, it was designed by Oscar Niemeyer following the style of modern Brazilian architecture.

The semi-sphere on the left is the seat of the Senate, and the semi-sphere on the right is the seat of the Chamber of the Deputies. Among them there are two vertical towers of offices. The Congress also occupies other surrounding buildings, some of them interconnected by a tunnel.

The building is located in the middle of the Monumental Axis, main street of Brasília. In front of it, there is a large lawn, where demonstrations take place. At the back of it, is the Praça dos Três Poderes, where lies the Palácio do Planalto and the Supremo Tribunal Federal.

On December 6, 2007, the Institute of Historic and Artistic National Heritage (Portuguese: Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional) decided to declare the building of the National Congress an historical heritage of the Brazilian people. The building is also among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as part of Brasília's original urban buildings, since 1987.

Latest election

After the latest election, held in 2006, fifteen of Brazil's 27 official political parties are represented in Congress. The government reached the majority of seats in the Congress after an agreement with center party PMDB. The Official Opposition comprises PSDB, DEM (former PFL), and PPS.

e • d Summary of the 1 October 2006 National Congress of Brazil election results
Parties Chamber of Deputies Federal Senate
Votes % Seats Votes % Total seats elected in 2006
  Workers' Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores) 13,989,859 15.0 83 16,222,159 19.2 101 2
  Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro) 13,580,517 14.6 89 10,148,024 12.0 162 4
  Brazilian Social Democratic Party (Partido da Social-Democracia Brasileira) 12,691,043 13.6 65 10,547,778 12.5 142 5
  Democrats (Democratas) 10,182,308 10.9 65 21,653,812 25.7 18 6
  Progressive Party (Partido Progressista) 6,662,309 7.1 42 4,228,431 5.0 1 1
  Brazilian Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Brasileiro) 5,732,464 6.2 27 2,143,355 2.5 3 1
  Democratic Labour Party (Partido Democrático Trabalhista) 4,854,017 5.2 24 5,023,041 6.0 5 1
  Brazilian Labour Party (Partido Trabalhista Brasileiro) 4,397,743 4.7 22 2,676,469 3.2 4 3
  Liberal Party (Partido Liberal) 4,074,618 4.4 23 696,501 0.8 3 1
  Socialist People's Party (Partido Popular Socialista) 3,630,462 3.9 21 1,232,571 1.5 1 1
  Green Party (Partido Verde) 3,368,561 3.6 13 1,425,765 1.7 0 0
  Communist Party of Brazil (Partido Comunista do Brasil) 1,982,323 2.1 13 6,364,019 7.5 2 1
  Social Christian Party (Partido Social Cristão) 1,747,863 1.9 9 131,548 0.2 0 0
  Socialism and Freedom Party (Partido Socialismo e Liberdade) 1,149,619 1.2 3 351,527 0.4 11 0
  Party of the Reconstruction of the National Order (Partido de Reedificação da Ordem Nacional) 907,494 1.0 2 69,640 0.1 0 0
  Party of National Mobilization (Partido da Mobilização Nacional) 875,686 0.9 3 12,925 0.0 0 0
  Christian Labour Party (Partido Trabalhista Cristão) 806,662 0.9 4 39,690 0.0 0 0
  Humanist Party of Solidarity (Partido Humanista da Solidariedade) 435,328 0.5 2 24,940 0.0 0 0
  Christian Social Democratic Party (Partido Social Democrata Cristão) 354,217 0.4 0 53,025 0.1 0 0
  Labour Party of Brazil (Partido Trabalhista do Brasil) 311,833 0.3 1 69,923 0.1 0 0
  Party of the Nation's Retirees (Partido dos Aposentados da Nação) 264,682 0.3 1 2,969 0.0 0 0
  Brazilian Republican Party (Partido Republicano Brasileiro) 244,059 0.3 1 264,155 0.3 2 0
  Republican Progressive Party (Partido Republicano Progressista) 233,497 0.3 0 12,954 0.0 0 0
  Social Liberal Party (Partido Social Liberal) 190,793 0.2 0 46,542 0.0 0 0
  Brazilian Labour Renewal Party (Partido Renovador Trabalhista Brasileiro) 171,908 0.2 0 644,111 0.8 1 1
  National Labour Party (Partido Trabalhista Nacional) 149,809 0.2 0 11,063 0.0 0 0
  United Socialist Workers' Party (Partido Socialista dos Trabalhadores Unificado) 101,307 0.1 0 196,636 0.2 0 0
  Brazilian Communist Party (Partido Comunista Brasileiro) 64,766 0.1 0 62,756 0.1 0 0
  Workers Cause Party (Partido da Causa Operária) 29,083 0.0 0 27,476 0.0 0 0
Total (turnout 83.3%) 93,184,830 100 513 84,383,805 100 81 27
Source: Election Resources on the Internet: Federal Elections in Brazil, Official Federal Senate website for continuing senators.

Substitutes from another party admitions:

1Senator Ana Júlia de Vasconcelos Carepa, of the Workers' Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores), resigned following her election as Governor of Pará State in 2006, in the middle of her Senate term. José Nery de Azevedo, of the Socialism and Freedom Party (Partido Socialismo e Liberdade) took her seat in the Senate.

2Senator Leonel Arcângelo Pavan of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (Partido da Social-Democracia Brasileira), resigned following his election as Vice Governor of Santa Catarina State in 2006, in the middle of his Senate term. Neuto Fausto de Couto, of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro) took his seat in the Senate.

Coordinates: 15°47′58.82″S 47°51′51.05″W / 15.7996722°S 47.8641806°W / -15.7996722; -47.8641806

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