Brazilian Congress Takes Office with Conservative Bias, and Lula Seeks Base with Centrists and Right Wing

The left wing accounts for only 1/4 of the seats in the House and Senate, and Lula seeks to build a foundation with centrists and the right wing


The federal deputies and senators who take office this Wednesday (1st) will slightly expand the loyal bases of Jair Bolsonaro (PL) and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) in Congress, but, in general, they will maintain the pattern of the past legislature, with a conservative majority. With this, the President has tried to form his support base by distributing ministries and second-tier positions to centrist and right-wing parties. The first wave included PSD, MDB, and União Brasil, which occupied 9 of the 37 ministries, but Lula will also have to advance into Bolsonaro's pork barrel faction in congress (PP, PL, and Republicans).

If all parliamentarians from the left wing and from the three centrist parties and right-wing parties support the president, he will have 287 seats in the Chamber and 47 in the Senate. The number guarantees a majority, but it is insufficient to approve amendments to the Constitution (308 and 49, respectively).

The first real tests of Lula's base in Congress will take place this Wednesday, with the election of the House and Senate leaderships, especially the latter, in which Pacheco, supported by Lula, is running for re-election against Bolsonarist Rogério Marinho (PL-RN). Senator Rogério Carvalho (PT-SE) claims that the score for the Senate leadership is not the same as the score for support for the government and that the senators who vote for Marinho will not necessarily be in the opposition. "It's not the vote for a president that indicates who will or who won't be the governing base. That's not what defines it. The election is a much more restricted space. It's the direction of the Legislative Power", he says. As soon as the legislative year begins, this Thursday (2), other tests will come.

Translated by Cassy Dias

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