No More Rigid Coalitions: Brazilian Congress Ends Party Piggybacking

By a vote count of 329 to 142, Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies approved, Wednesday, February 9, a constitutional amendment doing away with the requirement that, when party alliances are formed, they be the same at the federal and state levels in presidential, gubernatorial, and congressional elections.

The amendment overturns a 2002 resolution by the Federal Elections Board making piggybacking (denominated "verticalização" in Brazil) mandatory in the composition of electoral coalitions.

Parties were previously free to choose their electoral partners on a state-by-state basis, and parochial interests often prevailed. Wednesday’s vote restores the previous status quo.

The amendment will now be promulgated by the presiding officers of the Chamber and the Senate and will become part of the Constitution. The new rule is valid for this year’s elections.

The amendment had already been approved by the Senate in two rounds of voting and had obtained first round approval in the Chamber, on January 26, by a vote count of 343 to 143. Yesterday’s vote was the second round in the Chamber.

The PT and the PP were opposed to abolishing the piggybacking requirement. The PSDB, the PSOL, and the Administration’s congressional leadership instructed their supporters to vote as they wished. The PMDB, PFL, PTB, PL, PSB, PDT, PPS, PCdoB, PV, PSC, Prona, PMR, and PTC voted in favor of eliminating the requirement.

Agência Brasil

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