Brazil is a Federal Republic comprising of 26 States and a federal district. Executive, Legislative and Judiciary are the three main bodies functioning in the country.
The executive branch consists of Presidency and the Cabinet. The President is the head of State and the head of Government and is elected by the majority of votes for a term of four years.
The Cabinet comprises of Ministries, Secretaries and other agencies and offices.
The Legislative body is made up of two houses- Senate and Chamber of Deputies, collectively referred to as the National Congress.
There are 81 senators, three for each state and the federal district. Senators are elected through voting for a term of eight years.
The Chamber of Deputies represents the people. The number of Deputies is proportional to the population of each state and is elected for a four year term. Deputies are elected by the proportional voting of each Party.
Major political parties active in the country are:
- Workers Party
- Liberal Front Party
- Brazilian Democratic Movement Party
- Brazilian Social Democratic Party
- Progressive Party
- Brazilian Labour Party
- Liberal Party
- Brazilian Socialist Party
- Popular Socialist Party
- Democratic Labour Party
- Communist Party of Brazil
(Source: Tribunal Superior Eletoral)
The Brazilian economy has experienced steady growth as a result of large scale commodity exports.
Burdensome taxes, inefficient regulation, poor access to long-term financing, and a rigid labour market are some of the barriers for doing business in Brazil. The judicial system is vulnerable to political influence and corruption.
Business and Economic Freedom
The country scored 56.3 points on the economic freedom index making it the 113th freest economy in 2011. The country is below the world and regional average. It is ranked 21st out of 29 countries in Central American and Caribbean region.
Brazil ranks 69th on the World’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI). CPI measures the perceived level of public-sector corruption in 180 countries and territories around the world.
Freedom of Information
The country’s press media is free from political parties and government involvement. Media is free to debate about the social and political matters.
O Dia, O Correio Brazilense, O Globo, Jornal do Brasil, Folha de Sao Paulo, O Estado de Sao Paulo are the key newspapers in the country while Globo is the Chief broadcaster of T.V and radio networks.
The country ranks 58th on the World press freedom index 2010 conducted by rsf.org.
(Source: rsf.org, BBC News)
The National Justice Council administers the judiciary system of the country. It looks after the planning and coordination between the courts. The Judicial system of Brazil has the following levels:
o Trial courts
o Courts of Justice
o Federal regional courts
o Military courts
o Labor courts
o Electoral courts
- Superior Court of Justice
The Supreme Federal Court is the highest court of justice and is responsible for guarding the constitution of Brazil. It consists of eleven judges appointed by the President after the approval of nominations by the Federal Senate.
The Superior Court of Justice is the highest court of justice for non-constitutional issues and also institutes legal proceedings against the Governors of the states and of the Federal District, the judges of the Courts of Justice of the states and of the Federal District.
The Trial Court and the Court of Justice are State level courts. Trial court is a court of first instance and the Court of Justice is a court of second instance. The Court of Justice is the highest court of appeal in a State.
Military courts carry out legal proceedings of military crimes and Brazilian armed forces.
Labour Courts carry out legal proceedings over labour-law issues and the Superior Labour court is the highest court of appeal concerning labour laws.
Electoral Courts overlook the organization, execution of all political elections and their results. Each state has a Regional electoral court. The Superior Electoral court controls the system of all the Electoral courts.