New Brazilian National Congress

New congressmen inaugurated in Brazil

The 513 deputies and 54 senators, who were elected last October and composed the new Brazilian National Congress, took their seats on Tuesday in Brasilia, Brazil's capital.

The Chamber of Deputies could have been 100 percent renovated in October, but 288 lawmakers were re-elected, so actually only 46 percent was renewed.

The deputies' inauguration ceremony was marked by the attendance of the two candidates running for the chairmanship of the House, Marco Maia, belonging to the ruling Workers' Party (PT), and Sandro Mabel of the Republican Party (PR).

Although negotiations for alliances were still occurring on Tuesday, experts believe that the allied base of Rousseff's government has a comfortable majority in the House.

In the Senate, for its part, 54 senators elected for a term of eight years swore their oath, while 27 senators elected in 2006 remain in their seats for another four years.

The government will have a broad allied base in the Senate, with the support of at least 59 out of 81 senators.

The new configuration of the Congress gives the ruling government qualified majority, equivalent to three fifths of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate (49 senators and 308 deputies), which is required to approve constitutional amendments and organic laws.

Moreover, the opposition would not reach the minimum of votes required to create Parliamentary Committees of Inquiry (CPIs), an instrument commonly used in Brazilian politics to block the legislative process and prevent the enactment of new laws.

Leaders of major Brazilian political parties claim that political reform is a priority of legislative activity this year.

(Published by People's Daily Online - February 2, 2011)

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