What Danes should know about the Legislative Power In Brazil


This post is the second of a short series of posts about the Brazilian political system for the Danish community.

As mentioned in the first post of this series about the Brazilian political system, there are 3 spheres of powers in Brazil

  • The Executive Power
  • The Legislative Power
  • The Judiciary Power

Today we will be explaining what the Legislative Power is and why this power is relevant for the Brazilian political system.

The Legislative Power in Brazil comprises.

  • The Senate
  • The Chamber of Deputies or House of Representatives

The Senate in Brazil

The Senate is comprised by eighty-one (81) Senators, who are representatives of the States of Brazil and the Federal District. Each State has the right to have three Senators who serve staggered eight (8) year terms. The Senators as mentioned above represent the States, and not the population, thus it is not proportional in relation to the number of inhabitants of each state.

Today the Senate President chair is held by Mr. Renan Calheiros, who is a member of the Democratic Brazilian Movement Party (PMDB).

The Senate main responsibilities are:

  • Propose and debate and bypass legislation of Brazilian interest;
  • Approve names of ministers of the Supreme Court, Court of Audit, President and directors of the Central Bank, heads of diplomatic missions,etc;
  • Evoke actions to investigate the President, Vice President, Ministers of the Supreme Court, Attorney Generals, The Federal Attorney General,etc;
  • Fix Debt limit of the states and municipalities and authorize international financial operations;

Below a figure with the Brazilian Senate structure,as of October of 2013.

Brazilian Senate structure


Brazilian Senate Structure per party


Brazilian Senate Structure Opposition



The Chamber of Deputies or House of Representatives

The Chamber of Deputies as the senate is part of the Legislative Power of Brazil. Differently from the Senate the deputies are elected proportionally, therefore the numbers of chairs occupied are distributed in accordance to the number of inhabitants per State. The proportionally, however is limited to eight (as a minimum) and seventy (70) as a maximum number of deputies per State. The deputies, differently of the Senators represent the people of each State and not the States itself as the Senate.

The Chamber of Deputies main responsibilities are:

  • Discuss the adoption of laws on an enormous variety of subjects
  • Supervise the use of funds raised by the population
  • Work closely with the Court of Audit (TCU) in order to supervise and control Public fund spending.

Lower house structure


Some curiosities interesting for Danes

  • Before any proposed amendment or legislation becomes part of the law, it is mandatory to have the approval of both chambers as well as receive authorization of the President (sanction).
  • The Senate and the Lower house have a very important role for the democracy of Brazil. They are there to supervise and to be the watch dog of the population.
  • The idea is to have in the lower house, younger people who can bring some fresh air and daring ideas. These ideas, should be put into a paper, and then after some study they should be sent to the senate (and the origin of senate comes from the latin senex, which means old) where older men, therefore more experienced should revise the ideas and projects, and discuss and implement it.



Carlos Monteiro is a Brazilian citizen, graduated in Business Administration by the Catholic University of São Paulo. He lives in Odense, Denmark with his Danish Wife, Cathrine, and their half Danish /Brazilian daughter Ines Marie. You are very welcome to be in contact him at any time.

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