Constitution of Brazil/The Organization of the Powers

Chapter I - The Legislative PowerEdit

Section I - The National CongressEdit

Article 44. The Legislative Power is exercised by the National Congress, which is composed of the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate. Sole paragraph - Each legislative term shall have the duration of four years.

Article 45. The Chamber of Deputies is composed of representatives of theca people, elected, by the proportional system, in each state, territory and in the Federal District. Paragraph 1 - The total number of Deputies, as well as the representation of the States and of the Federal District shall be established by a supplementary law, in proportion to the population, and the necessary adjustments shall be made in the year preceding the elections, so that none of those units of the Federation has less than eight or more than seventy Deputies. Paragraph 2 - Each territory shall elect four Deputies.

Article 46. The Federal Senate is composed of representatives of the states and of the Federal District, elected by a majority vote. Paragraph 1 - Each state and the Federal District shall elect three Senators for a term of office of eight years. Paragraph 2 - One-third and two-thirds of the representation of each state and of the Federal District shall be renewed every four years, alternately. Paragraph 3 - Each Senator shall be elected with two substitutes.

Article 47. Except where there is a constitutional provision to the contrary, the decisions of each House and of their committees shall be taken by a majority vote, when the absolute majority of its members is present.

Section II - Powers of the National CongressEdit

Article 48. The National Congress shall have the power, with the sanction of the President of the Republic, which shall not be required for the matters specified in articles 49, 51 and 52, to provide for all the matters within the competence of the Union and especially on: I - system of taxation, collection of taxes and income distribution; II - pluriannual plan, budgetary directives, annual budget, credit transactions, public debt and issuance of currency; III - establishment and modification of Armed Forces troops; IV - national, regional and sectorial plans and programmes of development; V - boundaries of the national territory, air and maritime space and property of the Union; VI- incorporation, subdivision or dismemberment of areas of territories or states, after consulting with the respective Legislative Assembly; VII - temporary transference of the seat of the Federal Government; VIII - granting of amnesty; IX - administrative and judicial organization of the Public Prosecution and the Public Legal Defense of the Union and of the territories, and judicial organization of the Public Prosecution and the Public Legal Defense of the Federal District; X - establishment, transformation and extinction of public offices, positions and functions, with observance of the article 84, VI, b;

Text in purple added by CA 32, September 11th 2001.

XI - establishment and extinction of Ministries and bodies of public administration;

Clause XI amended by CA 32, September 11th 2001. The original text mentioned, beside creation and extinction, also the re-structuration of the Administation.

XII - telecommunications and radio broadcasting; XIII - financial, foreign exchange and monetary matters, financial institutions and their operations; XIV - currency, currency issuance limits, and amount of federal indebtedness. XV - fixation of remuneration of the Justices of the Supreme Federal Tribunal, with due regard to articles 39, paragraph 4; 150, II; 153, III; and 153, paragraph 2, I.

Clause XV added by CA 41, December 19th 2003.

Article 49. It is exclusively the competence of the National Congress: I - to decide conclusively on international treaties, agreements or international acts which result in charges or commitments that go against the national property; II - to authorize the President of the Republic to declare war, to make peace and to permit foreign forces to pass through the national territory or remain therein temporarily, with the exception of the cases provided by a supplementary law; III - to authorize the President and the Vice-President of the Republic to leave the country, when such absence exceeds fifteen days; IV - to approve a state of defense and federal intervention, authorize a state of siege or suspend any of these measures; V - to stop the normative acts of the Executive Power which exceed their regimental authority or the limits of legislative delegation; VI - to transfer its seat temporarily; VII - to establish identical remuneration for Federal Deputies and Senators, taking into account the provisions of articles 37, XI; 39, paragraph 4; 150, II; 153, III, and 153, paragraph 2, I;

Clause VII amended by CA 19, June 4th 1998. The original text contained the words "in each legislative term, for the subsequent one". The new text included the references to articles 37 and 39.

VIII -to establish, for each fiscal year, the remuneration of the President and the Vice-President of the Republic and of the Ministers of State, taking into account the provisions of articles 150, II, 153, III, and 153, paragraph 2, I;

Clause VIII amended by CA 19, June 4th 1998. The new text included the references to articles 37 and 39.

IX - to examine each year the accounts rendered by the President of the Republic and to consider the reports on the execution of Government plans; X - to supervise and control directly or through either of its Houses, the acts of the Executive Power, including those of the indirect administration; XI - to ensure the preservation of legislative competence in the face of the normative incumbency of the other Powers; XII - to consider the acts of concession and renewal of concession of radio and television stations; XIII - to choose two-thirds of the members of the Court of Accounts of the Union; XIV - to approve initiatives of the Executive Power referring to nuclear activities XV - to authorize a referendum and to call a plebiscite; XVI - to authorize, in Indian lands, the exploitation and use of hydric resources and the prospecting and mining of mineral resources XVII - to give prior approval to the disposal or concession of public lands with an area of over two thousand and five hundred hectares.

Article 50. The Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate, or any of their committees, may summon a Minister of State or any chief officers of agencies directly subordinate to the Presidency of the Republic to personally render information on a previously determined matter, and absence without adequate justification shall constitute a crime of malversation.

Text in purple added by CA of Revision 2, June 7th 1994.

Paragraph 1 - The Ministers of State may attend the Federal Senate, the Chamber of Deputies or any of their committees, on their own initiative and by agreement with the respective Directing Board, to report on a matter of relevance to their Ministry. Paragraph 2 - The Directing Boards of the Chamber of Deputies and of the Federal Senate may forward to the Ministers of State, or any of the persons mentioned in the caption of this article, written requests for information, and refusal or non-compliance, within a period of thirty days, as well as the rendering of false information, shall constitute a crime of malversation.

Text in purple added by CA of Revision 2, June 7th 1994.

Section III - The Chamber of DeputiesEdit

Article 51. It is exclusively the competence of the Chamber of Deputies: I - to authorize, by two-thirds of its members, legal proceeding to be initiated against the President and the Vice-President of the Republic and the Ministers of State; II - to effect the taking of accounts of the President of the Republic, when they are not presented to the National Congress within sixty days of the opening of the legislative session; III - to draw up its internal regulations; IV - to provide for its organization, functioning, police, creation, transformation or extinction of offices, positions and functions of its services, and the initiative of law for the establishment of their respective remuneration, taking into account the guidelines set forth in the law of budgetary directives;

Paragraph 4 amended by CA 19, June 4th 1998. Before this Amendment, the Chamber had autonomy to determine its own salaries, by means of a legislative decree, regardless of approval by the President of the Republic. After the Amendment, the salaries are determined by a law, which require approval by the President of the Republic.

V - to elect the members of the Council of the Republic, in the manner prescribed by article 89. VII.

Section IV - The Federal SenateEdit

Article 52. It is exclusively the competence of the Federal Senate: I - to effect the legal proceeding and trial of the President and Vice-President of the Republic for crime of malversation, as well as the Ministers of State and the Commanders of Navy, Army and Air Force for crimes of the same nature relating to those;

Text in purple added by CA 23, September 2nd 1999.

II - to effect the legal proceeding and trial of the Justices of the Supreme Federal Court, the members of the National Council of Justice and of the National Council of Public Prosecution, the Attorney-General of the Republic and the Advocate-General of the Union for crimes of malversation;

Text in purple added by CA 45, December 8th 2004. That Amendment was called Reform of the Judiciary Power (see articles 92 to 135 of this Constitution); among many other acts, that Amendment created the National Council of Justice and the National Council of the Public Prosecution.

III - to give prior consent, by secret voting, after public hearing, on the selection of: a) judges, in the cases established in this Constitution; b) Justices of the Court of Accounts of the Union appointed by the President of the Republic; c) Governor of a territory; d) president and directors of the Central Bank; e) Attorney-General of the Republic; f) holders of other offices, as the law may determine; IV - to give prior approval, by secret voting, after closed hearing, on the selection of heads of permanent diplomatic missions: V - to authorize foreign transactions of a financial nature, of the interest of the Union, the States, the Federal District, the territories and the municipalities; VI - to establish, as proposed by the President of the Republic, total limits for the entire amount of the consolidated debt of the Union, the States, the Federal District and the municipalities; VII - to provide for the total limits and conditions for foreign and domestic credit transactions of the Union, the States, the Federal District and the municipalities, of their autonomous Government entities and other entities controlled by the Federal Government; VIII - to provide for limits and conditions for the concession of a guarantee by the Union in foreign and domestic credit transactions; IX - to establish total limits and conditions for the entire amount of the debt of the States, the Federal District and the municipalities; X - to stop the application, in full or in part, of a law declared unconstitutional by final decision of the Supreme Federal Court; XI - to approve, by absolute majority and by secret voting, the removal from office of the Attorney-General of the Republic before the end of his term of office; XII - to draw up its internal regulations; XIII - to provide for its organization, functioning, police, creation, transformation or extinction of offices, positions or functions of its services and the initiative of law for establishment of their respective remuneration, taking into account the guidelines established in the law of budgetary directives;

Clause XIII amended by CA 19, June 4th 1998. Before this Amendment, the Senate had autonomy to determine its own salaries, by means of a legislative decree, regardless of approval by the President of the Republic. After the Amendment, the salaries are determined by a law, which require approval by the President of the Republic.

XIV - to elect the members of the Council of the Republic, as established in article 89, VII.

XV - evaluate periodically the functionality of the National Tax System, its structure and components, and the performance of the tax administrations of the Union, States, Federal District and municipalities.

Item XV included by CA nr. 42, Dec. 19th 2003.

Sole paragraph - In the cases provided for in items I and II, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Federal Court shall act as President and the sentence, which may only be issued by two-thirds of the votes of the Federal Senate, shall be limited to the loss of office with disqualification to hold any public office for a period of eight years, without prejudice to other applicable judicial sanctions.

Section V - Deputies and SenatorsEdit

Article 53. The Deputies and Senators enjoy inviolability, both civil and penal, on account of any of their opinions, words and votes.

Article 53 amended by CA 35, December 20th 2001. The original text read: "The Deputies and Senators enjoy inviolability on account of their opinions, words and votes." This Amendment changed entirely the article 53 (and only this article), to diminish the immunities of Congressmen. Shortly before the Amendment, a few Deputies used their immunities as shield against crimes; most notorious case was a Deputy from Acre who used to saw their enemies alive.

Paragraph 1 -Deputies and Senators, from the date of issuance of the electoral diploma, will be tried before the Supreme Federal Court.

Paragraph 1 amended by CA 35, December 20th 2001. In Brazil, a diploma is issued to certify that a candidate won an election. President Lula, in some occasions, declared to be proud of having received as his first diploma the Diploma of President of the Republic.

Paragraph 2 - From the date of the issuance of the electoral diploma, the members of the National Congress may not be arrested, except in flagrante delicto of an umbailable crime. In such case, the case records shall be remitted within twenty four hour to the respective House which, by vote of the majority of their members, shall decide about the prison.

Text in purple added by CA 35, December 20th 2001. Original text read: "nor may they be criminally prosecuted, without prior authorization by the respective House."

Paragraph 3 - After accepting the indiction against Deputy or Senator, for crimes occurred after the issuance of the diploma, the Supreme Federal Court shall communicate the respective House which, by initiative of a Political Party with representation in the House and by the vote of the majority of its Members, may, until the final decision, suspend the progress of the case.

Paragraph 3 amended by CA 35, December 20th 2001.

Paragraph 4 - The request of suspension shall be examined by the respective House within fourty five days, non extendable, counted from the reception by the Directory Board.

Paragraph 5 - The suspension of the case stops the prescription of the crime, while the office lasts.

Paragraph 3 amended by CA 35, December 20th 2001.

Paragraph 6 - The Deputies and Senators shall not have the obligation to render testimony or information received or given by virtue of the exercise of their mandate, nor against persons who rendered them information or received information from them. Paragraph 7 - Incorporation into the Armed Forces of Deputies and Senators even if they hold military rank and even in time of war shall depend upon theca previous granting of permission by the respective House. Paragraph 8 - The immunities of Deputies and Senators shall be maintained during a state of siege and may only be suspended by the vote of two-thirds of the members of the respective House, in the case of acts committed outside the premises of Congress, which are not compatible with the implementation of such measure.

Article 54. Deputies and Senators may not: I - after the issuance of their certificate of electoral victory: a)sign or maintain a contract with a public legal entity, autonomous Government agency, public company, mixed-capital company or public utility company, unless the contract is in accordance with uniform clauses; b) accept or hold a paid office, function or position including those from which they may be dismissed ad nutum in the entities mentioned in the preceding subitem; II - after taking office: a) be the owners, controllers or directors of a company which enjoys benefits arising from a contract with a public legal entity or perform a remunerated position therein; b) hold an office or function from which they may be dismissed ad nutum, in the entities mentioned in item I, a; c) act as lawyer in a cause in which any of the entities referred to in item I, a, has an interest; d) be the holders of more than one public elective position or office.

Article 55. A Deputy or Senator shall lose his office: I - if he violates any of the prohibitions established in the preceding article; II - if his conduct is declared incompatible with parliamentary decorum; III - if he fails to appear, in each legislative session, at one-third of the regular sessions of the House to which he belongs, except for a leave of absence or a mission authorized by the House concerned: IV - if his political rights have been lost or suspended; V - whenever decreed by the Electoral Courts, in the cases established in this Constitution; VI - if he is criminally convicted by a final and unappealable sentence. Paragraph 1 - Abuse of the prerogatives ensured to a Congressman or the gaining of undue advantages, in addition to the cases defined in the internal regulations, is incompatible with parliamentary decorum. Paragraph 2 - In the cases of items I, II and VI, loss of office shall be declared by the Chamber of Deputies or the Federal Senate, by secret voting and absolute majority, on the initiative of the respective Directing Board or of a political party represented in the National Congress, full defense being ensured. Paragraph 3 - In the cases set forth in items III to V, the loss shall be declared by the Directing Board of the respective House, ex officio or upon the initiative of any of its members, or of a political party represented in the National Congress, full defense being ensured. Paragraph 4 - The resignation of a Congressman submitted to a legal suit that aims at or may lead to loss of mandate, under the provisions of this article, will have its effects suspended until the final deliberations mentioned in paragraphs 2 and 3.

Paragraph 4 added by CA of Revision 6, June 7th 1994. Notice that, if a Congressman resigns before the legal suit, he retains all his political rights, and is entitled for a new office right in the next election. This method has been used by a few Deputies and Senators who are sure to be condemned by an ethical commission; they resigned and were re-elected afterwards.

Article 56. A Deputy or Senator shall not lose his office: I - if vested with the office of Minister of State, Governor of a territory, Secretary of a State, of the Federal District, of a territory, of a State capital or head of a temporary diplomatic mission; III - if on leave of absence from the respective House, by virtue of illness or, without remuneration, to attend to private matters, provided that, in this case, the absence does not exceed one hundred and twenty days per legislative session. Paragraph 1. The substitute shall be called in cases of vacancy, of investiture in the functions set forth in this article or of leave of absence exceeding one hundred and twenty days. Paragraph 2 - Upon the occurrence of a vacancy and there being no substitute, if more than fifteen months remain before the end of the term of office, an election shall be held to fill it. Paragraph 3 - In the event of item I, the Deputy or Senator may opt for the remuneration of the elective office.

Section VI - The SessionsEdit

Article 57. The National Congress shall meet each year in the Federal Capital, from February 2nd to July 17th and from August 1st to December 2nd.

Article 57 amended by CA 50, February 14th 2006. This CA extended the period the Parliament should meet. Former text read: "The National Congress shall meet each year in the Federal Capital, from February 15th to June 30th and from August 1st to December 15th."

Paragraph 1 - If sessions scheduled for these dates fall on a Saturday, a Sunday or a holiday, they shall be transferred to the subsequent workday. Paragraph 2 - The legislative session shall not be interrupted before the approval of the bill of budgetary directives . Paragraph 3 - In addition to other cases provided for in this Constitution the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate shall meet in a joint session to: I - inaugurate the legislative session; II - draw up the common regulations and regulate the creation of services common to both Houses; III - take the oath of the President and of the Vice-President of the Republic; IV - acknowledge a veto and resolve thereon. Paragraph 4 - Each of the Houses shall meet in a preparatory session, beginning February 1 of the first year of the legislative term, for the installation of its members and the election of the respective Directing Boards, for a term of office of two years, the re-election to the same office in the immediately subsequent election being prohibited.

Paragraph 4 amended by CA 50, February 14th 2006. Original text read "Both Houses", meaning that Deputies and Senators should meet jointly; with the new text, the members of each House will meet independently.

Paragraph 5 - The Directing Board of the National Congress shall be presided by the President of the Federal Senate and the remaining offices shall be held, alternately, by the holders of equivalent offices in the Chamber of Deputies and in the Federal Senate. Paragraph 6 - Special sessions of the National Congress shall be called: I - by the President of the Federal Senate, in the event of a decree of a state of defense or of federal intervention, of a demand for the authorization to decree a state of siege and the taking of oath and inauguration of the President and the Vice-President of the Republic; II - by the President of the Republic, by the Presidents of the Chamber of Deputies and of the Federal Senate or by request of the majority of the members of both Houses, in case of urgency or important public interest, in any case with the approval by the absolute majority of each of the Houses of the National Congress.

Words in purple added by CA 50, February 14th 2006.

Paragraph 7 - In a special legislative session, the National Congress shall deliberate only upon the matter for which it was called, excepted the hypothesis of paragraph 8, the payment of indemnization on account of the calling being forbidden.

Text in purple added by CA 32, September 11th 2001, and later altered by CA 50, February 14th 2006. It used to be the case that, to work in special legislative sessions, Congressmen were paid an 'indemnization' substiantially higher than normal salaries; CA 32 limited the indemnization to one normal monthly salary; CA 50 abolished the indemnization altogether (Congressmen receive only normal salaries).

Paragraph 8 - If provisional measures are in force during the period of special legislative session of the National Congress, they shall be automatically included in the voting list.

Paragraph 8 added by CA 32, September 11th 2001.

Section VII - The CommitteesEdit

Article 58. The National Congress and both its Houses shall have permanent and temporary committees, established in the manner and with the incumbencies set forth in the respective regulations or in the act from which their creation Paragraph 1. In the composition of the Directing Boards and of each committee, the proportional representation of the parties or the parliamentary groups which participate in the respective House shall be ensured to the extent possible. Paragraph 2 - The committees have the power, on account of the matter under their authority. I - to debate and vote on bills of law which, in accordance with the regulations, are exempt from being submitted to the Plenary Assembly, except in the event of an appeal from one-tenth of the members of the respective House; II - to hold public audiences with entities of civil society; III - to summon Ministers of State to render information on matters inherent to their duties; IV - to receive petitions, claims, statements or complaints from any person against acts or omissions of Government authorities or entities; V - to request the testimony of any authority or citizen; VI - to examine construction work programs and national, regional and sectorial development plans and to report thereupon. Paragraph 3 - Parliamentary inquiry committees, which shall have the powers of investigation inherent to the judicial authorities, in addition to other powers set forth in the regulations of the respective Houses, shall be created by the Chamber of Deputies and by the Federal Senate, jointly or separately, upon the request of one-third of its members, to investigate a given fact and for a certain period of time? and their conclusions shall, if the case may be, be forwarded to the Public Prosecution to determine the civil or criminal liability of the offenders. Paragraph 4 - During recess there shall be a committee to represent the National Congress, elected by both its Houses in the last regular session of the legislative session, with incumbencies defined in the common regulations, the composition of which shall repeat, to the extent possible, the proportional representation of the political parties.

Section VIII - The Legislative ProcessEdit

Subsection I - General Provision Article 59. The legislative process comprises the preparation of: I - amendments to the Constitution; II - supplementary laws; III - ordinary laws; IV - delegated laws; V - provisional measures; VI - legislative decrees; Sole paragraph - A supplementary law shall provide for the preparation, drafting, amendment and consolidation of laws.

Subsection II - Amendments to the Constitution

Article 60. The Constitution may be amended on the proposal of: I - at least one-third of the members of the Chamber of Deputies or of the Federal Senate; II - the President of the Republic; III - more than one half of the Legislative Assemblies of the units of the Federation, each of them expressing itself by the relative majority of its members. Paragraph l - The Constitution shall not be amended while federal intervention, a state of defense or a state of siege is in force. Paragraph 2 - The proposal shall be discussed and voted upon in each House of the National Congress, in two readings, and it shall be considered approved if it obtains in both readings, three-fifths of the votes of the respective members. Paragraph 3 - An amendment to the Constitution shall be promulgated by the Directing Boards of the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate with the respective sequence number. Paragraph 4 - No proposal of amendment shall be considered which is aimed at abolishing: I - the federative form of State; II - the direct, secret, universal and periodic vote; III - the separation of the Government Powers; IV - individual rights and guarantees. Paragraph 5 - The matter dealt with in a proposal of amendment that is rejected or considered impaired shall not be the subject of another proposal in the same legislative session.

Subsection III - The Laws

Article 61. The initiative of supplementary and ordinary laws is within the competence of any member or committee of the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate or the National Congress, the President of the Republic, the Supreme Federal Court, the Superior Courts, the Attorney-General of the Republic and the citizens, in the manner and in the cases provided for in this Constitution. Paragraph 1 - It is the exclusive initiative of the President of the Republic to introduce laws that: I - determine or modify the number of Armed Forces troops; II - provide for: a) creation of public offices, functions or positions in the direct administration and in autonomous Government agencies or increases in their salaries; b) administrative and judicial organization, tax and budgetary matters, public services and administrative personnel of the territories; c) civil servants of the Union and Territories, their legal statute, appointment to offices, tenure and retirement;

Letter c amended by CA 18, February 5th 1998. The original text contained references to the militaries, which are now referred to in the letter f.

d) organization of the Public Prosecution and of the Public Legal Defense of the Union, as well as general rules for the organization of the Public Prosecution and the Public Legal Defense of the states, the Federal District and the territories; e) creation and extinction of the Ministries and public administration agencies, with due regard to the article 84, VI;

Letter e amended by CA 18, February 5th 1998. The original text read "creation, structuring and duties of the Ministries and public administration agencies;"

f) military of the Armed Forces, their legal statute, appointment to offices, promotions, tenure, remuneration, retirement, and transfer to the reserve.

Letter f added by CA 18, February 5th 1998.

Paragraph 2 - The initiative of the people may be exercised by means of the presentation to the Chamber of Deputies of a bill of law subscribed by at least one percent of the national electorate, distributed throughout at least five states, with not less than three-tenths of one percent of the voters in each of them.

Article 62. In important and urgent cases, the President of the Republic may adopt provisional measures with the force of law and shall submit them to the National Congress immediately.

Article 62 entirely changed by CA 32, September 11th 2001. Read comments at the end of the article.

Paragraph 1. No provisional measures should treat about matters: I - relative to: a) nationality, citizenship, political rights, political parties and electoral rights; b) criminal laws, criminal process and civil process; c) organization of Judiciary Power, Public Prosecution, the career and guarantees of their members; d) pluriannual plans, budgetary directives, annual budgetary law, aditional and supplementary credits, except what is mentioned on art. 167, paragraph 3; II - which refer to levy or retetion of assets, popular savings or any other financial assets; III - reserved to supplementary laws; IV - already disciplined by a law approved by Congress and awaiting sanction or veto by the President;

Paragraph 2. Provisional measures which institute or increase taxes, except for the cases mentioned on arts. 153, I, II, IV, V and 154, II, will produce efects in the following financial exercize only if converted into law until the last day of the year in which it was issued.

Paragraph 3. Provisional measures, except for those mentioned on articles 11 and 12, will loose eficacy, since back to the issuing date, if not converted into laws within sixty days, extendable, once, according to the disposed on paragraph 7, for the same period of time, being up to the Congress to discipline, by means of a Legislative Decree, the juridic relations resulting of them

Paragraph 4. The period mentioned on paragraph 3 will be counted from the date of publication of the provisional measure, being suspended during the periods of recess of the Congress.

Paragraph 5. The deliberation of each House of Congress about the merit of provisional measures will depend on previous judgement on the meeting of the constitutional pre-conditions of admissibility;

Paragraph 6. If the provisional measure is not appreciated in the 45 days after publication, it will gain urgency regime status, subsequently, in each of the Houses of Congress, being postponed, until the end of its appreciation, all the other legislative deliberations of the House in which it is being examined.

Paragraph 7. The validity of a provisional measure will be extended once, for the same period, if, after sixty days counted from the publication, its appreciation is not concluded on both Houses of Congress.

Paragraph 8. Provisional measures will be voted first by the Chamber of Deputies.

Paragraph 9. It will be up to a Committee composed by Deputies and Senators to examin the provisional measures and to issue an opinion about them, before being voted, in separated sessions, by the plenarium of each House of Congress.

Paragraph 10. Provisional measures which were rejected or had lost efficacy can not be reissued in the same legislative session.

Paragraph 11. If the legislative decree mentioned on paragraph 3 is not edited within sixty days after rejection or decay of provisional measure, the juridic relations constituted and consequential of acts practiced during its validity will remain regulated by them.

Paragraph 12. If the draft of law of conversion changing the original text of provisional measure is approved, the measure will remain in full force until being sanctioned or vetoed by the President.

Article 62 entirely changed by CA 32, September 11th 2001. This article used to have only the caput and one short paragraph; the CA changed the caput and original paragraph, and added eleven paragraphs. However, it became a consensus that the Executive Power had been given excessive powers to use Provisional Measures, and was misusing those powers. It became a common practice, for example, that the President of the Republic issued a provisional measure and, on expiration, re-issued it with exactly the same text; the measure which instituted the Real Plan, for example, was re-issued over eighty months; in practice, the Executive was legislating, withouth the participation of the Legislative. The CA 32 intended to rectify these problems.

Article 63. An increase in expenditure proposals shall not be admitted: I - in bills of the exclusive initiative of the President of the Republic, except for the provisions of article 166, paragraphs 3 and 4; III - in bills concerning theca organization of the administrative services of the Chamber of Deputies, the Federal Senate, the Federal Courts and the Public Prosecution.

Article 64. The discussion and voting of the bills of law which are the initiative of the President of the Republic, the Supreme Federal Court and of the Superior Courts shall start in the Chamber of Deputies. Paragraph 1 - The President of the Republic may request urgency in the examination of bills of his own initiative. Paragraph 2 - If, in the case of the preceding paragraph, the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate fail to act, each one, successively on the proposition, within up to forty-five days, the deliberation upon other subjects shall be suspended, except for those which have specific Constitutional deadlines, in order that the voting may be concluded.

Text in purple added by CA 32, September 11th 2001.

Paragraph 3 - Amendments of the Federal Senate shall be examined by the Chamber of Deputies within a period of ten days, in accordance, otherwise. with the provisions of the preceding paragraph. Paragraph 4 - The periods of time referred to in paragraph 2 shall not be counted while the Congress is in recess and shall not apply to the bills of codes.

Article 65. A bill of law approved by one House shall be reviewed by the other in a single reading of discussing and voting and sent for sanctioning or promulgation, if approved by the reviewing House, or it shall be dismissed, if rejected. Sole paragraph - If the bill is amended, it shall return to the House where it was proposed.

Article 66. The House in which voting is concluded shall send the bill of law to the President of the Republic, who, if he concurs, shall sanction it. Paragraph 1 - If the President of the Republic considers the bill of law, wholly or in part, unconstitutional or contrary to public interest, he shall veto it, wholly or in part, within fifteen work days, counted from the date of receipt and he shall, within forty-eight hours, inform the President of the Senate of the reasons of his veto. Paragraph 2 - A partial veto shall only comprise the full text of an article, paragraph, item or subitem. Paragraph 3 - After a period of fifteen days, the silence of the President of the Republic shall be considered as sanctioning. Paragraph 4 - The veto shall be examined in a joint session, within thirty days, counted from the date of receipt, and may only be rejected by the absolute majority of the Deputies and Senators, by secret voting. Paragraph 5 - If the veto is not upheld, the bill shall be sent to the President of the Republic for promulgation. Paragraph 6 - If the period established in paragraph 4 elapses without a decision being reached, the veto shall be included in the order of the day of the following session, and all other propositions shall be suspended until its final voting.

Paragraph 6 was changed by CA 32, September 11th 2001. The original text contained the expression: "except for the matters referred to in article 62, sole paragraph."

Paragraph 7 - If, in the cases of paragraphs 3 and 5, the law is not promulgated within forty-eight hours by the President of the Republic, the President of the Senate shall enact it and if the latter fails to do so within the same period, the Vice-President of the Senate shall do so.

Article 67. The matter dealt with in a rejected bill of law may only be the subject of a new bill during the same legislative session, upon proposal of the absolute majority of the members of either House of the National Congress.

Article 68. Delegated laws shall be drawn up by the President of the Republic, who shall request delegation from the National Congress. Paragraph 1 - There shall be no delegation of acts falling within the exclusive competence of the National Congress, of those within the exclusive competence of the Chamber of Deputies or the Federal Senate, of matters reserved for supplementary laws and of legislation on: I - the organization of the Judicial Power and of the Public Prosecution, the career and guarantees of their members; II - nationality, citizenship, individual, political and electoral rights, III - pluriannual plans, budgetary directives and budgets. Paragraph 2 - The delegation to the President of the Republic shall take the form of a resolution of the National Congress, which shall specify its contents and the terms of its exercise. Paragraph 3 - If the resolution calls for consideration of the bill by the National Congress, the latter shall do so in a single voting, any amendment being forbidden.

Article 69. Supplementary laws shall be approved by absolute majority.

Section IX - Accounting, Financial and Budgetary ControlEdit

Article 70. Control of accounts, finances, budget, operations and property of the Union and of the agencies of the direct and indirect administration, as to lawfulness, legitimacy, economic efficiency, application of subsidies and waiver of revenues, shall be exercised by the National Congress, by means of external control and of the internal control system of each Power. Sole paragraph - Accounts shall be rendered by any individual or corporation, public or private, which uses, collects, keeps, or manages public monies, assets or values, or those for which the Union is responsible or which, on behalf of the Union, assumes obligations of a pecuniary nature.


Paragraph amended by CA 19, June 4th 1998. Original text made references only to public entities: "Accounts shall be rendered by any individual or public entity which uses, ...". Big corporations like Banco do Brasil or Petrobrás always rendered accounts; the amendment came because of some bodies of private nature which depend solely on funds remitted by the Union, like, for example, SESI (Social Service of the Industry).


Article 71. External control, incumbent on the National Congress, shall be exercised with the aid of the Federal Court of Accounts, which shall: I - examine the accounts rendered annually by the President of the Republic, by means of a prior opinion which shall be prepared in sixty days counted from receipt; II - evaluate the accounts of the administrators and other persons responsible for public monies, assets and values of the direct and indirect administration, including foundations and companies instituted and maintained by the Federal Government as well as the accounts of those who have caused a loss, misplacement or other irregularity resulting in losses to the public treasury: III - examine, for the purpose of registration, the lawfulness of acts of admission of personnel, on any account, in the direct and indirect administration, including the foundations instituted and maintained by the Federal Government, with the exception of the appointments to commission offices, as well as the granting of civil and military retirement and pensions, except for subsequent improvements which do not alter the legal fundaments of the conceding act; IV - carry out, on its own initiative or on that of the Chamber of Deputies, of the Federal Senate, or of a technical or inquiry committee, inspection and audits of an accounting, financial, budgetary, operational or property nature in the administrative units of the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Powers and other entities referred to in item II; V - control the national accounts of supranational companies in whose capital stock the Union holds a direct or indirect interest, as set forth in the acts of incorporation: VI - control the use of any funds transferred by the Union, by means of an agreement, arrangement, adjustment or any other similar instrument, to a state, the Federal District or a municipality; VII - render the information requested by the National Congress, by either of its Houses or by any of the respective committees concerning accounting, financial, budgetary, operational and property control and the results of audits and inspections made; VIII - in case of illegal expenses or irregular accounts, apply to the responsible parties the sanctions provided by law, which shall establish, among other comminations, a fine proportional to the damages caused to the public treasury; IX - determine a period of time for the agency or entity to take the necessary steps for the strict compliance with the law, if an illegality is established; X - if not heeded, stop the execution of the impugned act, notifying the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate of such decision; XI - present a formal charge to the competent Power on any irregularities or abuses verified. Paragraph 1 - In the case of a contract, the restraining act shall be adopted directly by the National Congress, which shall immediately request the Executive Power to take the applicable measures. Paragraph 2 - If the National Congress or the Executive Power, within ninety days, do not take the measures provided for in the preceding paragraph. the Court shall decide on the matter. Paragraph 3 - Decisions of the Court resulting in the imposition of a debt or fine shall have the effectiveness of an execution instrument. Paragraph 4 - The Court shall, quarterly and annually, forward to the National Congress a report on its activities.

Article 72. In view of indications of unauthorized expenditure, even if in the form of non-programmed investments or non-approved subsidies, the permanent joint Committee referred to in article 166, paragraph 1, may request the responsible Government authority to render the necessary explanation, within five days. Paragraph 1 - If the explanations are not rendered or are considered insufficient, the Committee shall request the Court to make a conclusive statement on the matter within thirty days. Paragraph 2 - If the Court deems the expense to be irregular, the Committee shall, if it considers that the expenditure may cause irreparable damage or serious injury to the public economy, propose to the National Congress that it be suspended.

Article 73. The Court of Accounts of the Union, formed by nine Justices, shall have its seat in the Federal District, its own staff and jurisdiction throughout the national territory, and shall exercise, insofar as pertinent, the incumbencies provided for in article 96. Paragraph 1. The Justices of the Court of Accounts of the Union shall be appointed from among Brazilians who meet the following requirements: I - more than thirty-five and less than sixty-five years of age; II - moral integrity and spotless reputation; III - notable knowledge of the law, accounting, economics and finances or of public administration; IV - more than ten years of exercise of office or of actual professional activity which requires the knowledge mentioned in the preceding item. Paragraph 2 - The Justices of the Court of Accounts of the Union shall be chosen: I - one-third by the President of the Republic with the approval of the Federal Senate, two of them being alternately chosen from among auditors and members of the Public Prosecution at the Court, as indicated in a triple list by the Court, in accordance with criteria of seniority and merit: II - two-thirds by the National Congress. Paragraph 3 - The Justices of the Court of Accounts of the Union shall have the same guarantees, prerogatives, impediments, remuneration and advantages as the Justices of the Superior Court of Justice, their retirement and pensions being regulated by the norms provided for in article 40.


Text in purple amended by CA 20, December 15th 1998. Original text read: " and may only retire with the advantages of the office if they have actually held it for more than five years."


Paragraph 4 - The auditor, when substituting for a Justice, shall have the same guarantees and impediments as the incumbent Justice, and, when in exercise of the other duties of the judicature, those of a Judge of a Federal Regional Court.

Article 74. The Legislative, Executive and Judicial Powers shall maintain an i ntegrated system of internal control for the purpose of: I - evaluating the attainment of the goals established in the pluriannual plan, the implementation of government programmes and of the budgets of theca Union: II - verifying the lawfulness and evaluating the results, as to effectiveness and efficiency, of the budgetary, financial and property management in the agencies and entities of the federal administration, as well as the use of public funds by private legal entities; III - exercising control over credit transactions, collateral signatures and guarantees, as well as over the rights and assets of the Union; IV - supporting external control in the exercise of its institutional mission. Paragraph 1. The persons responsible for internal control shall, upon learning of any irregularity or illegality, inform the Court of Accounts of the Union about it, subject to joint liability. Paragraph 2 - Any citizen, political party. association or labour union has standing under the law to denounce irregularities or illegalities to the Court of Accounts of the Union.

Article 75. The rules set forth in this section shall apply, where appropriate, to the organization, composition and control of the Court of Accounts of the states and of the Federal District, as well as the Courts and Councils of Accounts of the municipalities. Sole paragraph - The state Constitutions shall provide for the respective Courts of Accounts, which shall be formed by seven council members.


Chapter II - The Executive PowerEdit

Section I - The President and the Vice President of the RepublicEdit

Article 76. The Executive Power is exercised by the President of the Republic, assisted by the Ministers of State.

Article 77. The election of the President and Vice-President of the Republic shall take place simultaneously, on the first Sunday of October, in the first round, and on the last Sunday of October, in the second round, as the case may be, of the year preceding the one in which the current presidential term of office ends.


Article 77 amended by CA 16, June 4th 1997. This Amendment instituted the possibility of re-election of the President and, as far as this article is concerned, changed the dates of elections. See article 14, paragraph 5.


Paragraph 1. The election of the President of the Republic shall imply the election of the Vice-President registered with him. Paragraph 2 - The candidate who, being registered by a political party, obtains an absolute majority of votes, not counting blank or void votes, shall be considered elected President. Paragraph 3 - If no candidate attains an absolute majority in the first voting, another election shall be held within twenty days from the announcement of the results, the competition being between the two candidates with the highest number of votes, and being considered elected the candidate with the majority of valid votes. Paragraph 4 - Should one of the candidates, before the second round of voting is held, die, withdraw or become legally impaired, the candidate with the highest number of votes among the remaining candidates shall be called. Paragraph 5 - If in the event of the preceding paragraphs, more than one candidate with an equal number of votes remain in second place, the eldest one shall qualify.

Article 78. The President and the Vice-President of the Republic shall take office in a session of the National Congress, pledging to maintain, defend and carry out the Constitution, obey the laws, promote the general well-being of the Brazilian people, sustain the union, the integrity and the independence of Brazil. Sole paragraph - In the event that, after ten days from the date scheduled for the inauguration, the President or the Vice-President, except by reason of force majeure has not taken office. the office shall be declared vacant.

Article 79. The Vice-President shall replace the President in the event of impediment and shall succeed him in the event of vacancy. Sole paragraph - In addition to other duties attributed to him by a supplementary law, the Vice-President shall assist the President whenever summoned by him for special missions.

Article 80. In the event of impediment of the President and of the Vice- President or of vacancy of the respective offices, the President of the Chamber of Deputies, the President of the Senate and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Federal Court shall be called successively to exercise the Presidency.

Article 81. In the event of vacancy of the offices of President and Vice-President of the Republic, elections shall be held ninety days after the occurrence of the last vacancy. Paragraph 1 - If the vacancy occurs during the last two years of the President's term of office, the National Congress shall hold elections for both offices thirty days after the last vacancy. as established by law. Paragraph 2 - In any of the cases, those elected shall complete the term of office of their predecessors.

Article 82. The term of office of the President of the Republic is four years, and it shall commence on January 1 of the year following the year of his election.


Article 82 amended by CA 16, June 4th 1997. See article 14, paragraph 5.


Article 83. The President and the Vice-President of the Republic may not, without authorization from the National Congress, leave the country for a period of more than fifteen days, subject to loss of office.


Section II - Duties of the President of the RepublicEdit

Article 84. The President of the Republic shall have the exclusive power to: I - appoint and dismiss the Ministers of State: II - exercise, with the assistance of the Ministers of State, the higher management of the federal administration; III - start the legislative procedure, in the manner and in the cases set forth in this Constitution; IV - sanction, promulgate and order the publication of laws, as well as to issue decrees and regulations for the true enforcement thereof; V - veto bills, wholly or in part; VI - provide, by means of decree, on: a) organization and structure of federal administration, in the cases where there is neither increase of expenses nor creation or extinction of public agencies; b) extinction of offices or positions, when not held.


Clause VI amended by CA 32, September 11th 2001. Original text was: "provide for the organization and operation of the federal administration, as established by law;".


VII - maintain relations with foreign States and to accredit their diplomatic representatives; VIII - conclude international treaties, conventions and acts, ad referendum of the National Congress; IX - decree the state of defense and the state of siege; X - decree and enforce federal intervention; XI - upon the opening of the legislative session, send a government message and plan to the National Congress, describing the state of the nation and requesting the actions he deems necessary; XII - grant pardons and reduce sentences, after hearing the entities instituted by law, if necessary; XIII - exercise the supreme command of the Armed Forces, appoint the commanders of Navy, Army and Air Force, to promote general officers and to appoint them to the offices held exclusively by them;


Clause XIII amended by CA 23, September 2nd 1999. Cosmetic change. This CA created the Minister of Defense, extinguishing the Ministers of Navy, Army and Air Force and creating the respective Commanders. This article was issued to preserve the direct subordination of the Commanders to the President of the Republic, instead of the Minister of Defense (a civilian).


XIV - appoint, after approval by the Senate, the Justices of the Supreme Federal Court and those of the superior courts, the Governors of the territories, the Attorney-General of the Republic, the President and the Directors of the Central Bank and other civil servants, when established by law; XV - appoint, with due regard for the provisions of article 73, the Justices of the Federal Court of Accounts; XVI - appoint judges in the events established by this Constitution and the Advocate-General of the Union; XVII - appoint members of the Council of the Republic, in accordance with article 89, VII; XVIII - call and preside over the Council of the Republic and the National Defense Council; XIX - declare war, in the event of foreign aggression, authorized by the National Congress or confirmed by it, whenever it occurs between legislative sessions and, under the same conditions, to decree full or partial national mobilization; XX - make peace, authorized or confirmed by the National Congress; XXI - award decorations and honorary distinctions; XXII - permit, in the cases set forth by supplementary law, foreign forces to pass through the national territory, or to remain temporarily therein; XXIII - submit to the National Congress the pluriannual plan, the bill of budgetary directives and the budget proposals set forth in this Constitution; XXIV - render, each year, accounts to the National Congress concerning the previous fiscal year, within sixty days of the opening of the legislative session; XXV - fill and abolish federal government positions, as set forth by law; XXVI - issue provisional measures, with force of law, according to article 62; XXVII - perform other duties set forth in this Constitution. Sole paragraph - The President of the Republic may delegate the duties mentioned in items VI, XII and XXV, first part, to the Ministers of State, to the Attorney-General of the Republic or to the Advocate-General of the Union, who shall observe the limitations established in the respective delegations.


Section III - Liability of the President of the RepublicEdit

Article 85. Those acts of the President of the Republic which attempt on the Federal Constitution and especially on the following, are crimes of malversation: I - the existence of the Union; II - the free exercise of the Legislative Power, the Judicial Power, the Public Prosecution and the constitutional Powers of the units of the Federation; III -the exercise of political, individual and social rights; IV - the internal security of the country; V - probity in the administration; VI - the budgetary law; VII - compliance with the laws and with court decisions. Sole paragraph. These crimes shall be defined in a special law, which shall establish the rules of procedure and trial.

Article 86. If charges against the President of the Republic are accepted by two-thirds of the Chamber of Deputies, he shall be submitted to trial before the Supreme Federal Court for common criminal offenses or before the Federal Senate for crimes of malversation. Paragraph 1 - The President shall be suspended from his functions: I - in common criminal offenses, if the accusation or the complaint is received by the Federal Supreme Court; II - in the event of crimes of malversation, after the proceeding is instituted by the Federal Senate. Paragraph 2 - If, after a period of one hundred and eighty days, the trial has not been concluded, the suspension of the President shall cease without prejudice to the normal progress of the proceeding. Paragraph 3 - In the event of common offenses, the President of the Republic shall not be subject to arrest as long as no sentence is rendered. Paragraph 4 - During his term of office, the President of the Republic may not be held liable to acts outside the performance of his functions.


Section IV - The Ministers of StateEdit

Article 87. The Ministers of State shall be chosen from among Brazilians over twenty-one years of age and in possession of their political rights. Sole paragraph - The Minister of State, in addition to other duties established in this Constitution and in the law, has the power to: I - exercise guidance, coordination and supervision of the agencies and entities of the federal administration in the area of his authority and to countersign acts and decrees signed by the President of the Republic; II - issue instructions for the enforcement of laws, decrees and regulations; III - submit to the President of the Republic an annual report on his administration of the Ministry; IV - perform the acts pertinent to the duties assigned or delegated to him by the President of the Republic.

Article 88. The law shall provide for the creation and extingshment of the Ministries and bodies of the public administration.


Article 88 amended by CA 32, September 11th 2001. Original text was "The law shall provide for the creation, structuring and duties of the Ministries."


Section V - The Council of the Republic and the National Defense CouncilEdit

Subsection I - The Council of the Republic

Article 89. The Council of the Republic is a higher body for consultation by the President of the Republic, and its members are: I - the Vice-President of the Republic; II - the President of the Chamber of Deputies; III - the President of the Federal Senate; IV - the majority and the minority leaders in the Chamber of Deputies; V - the majority and the minority leaders in the Federal Senate; VI - the Minister of Justice; VII - six born Brazilian citizens, with over thirty-five years of age, two of which appointed by the President of the Republic, two elected by the Federal Senate and two elected by the Chamber of Deputies, all with a term of office of three years, the re-appointment being prohibited.

Article 90. The Council of the Republic has the competence to express opinion on: I - federal intervention, state of defense and state of siege; II - matters relevant to the stability of the democratic institutions. Paragraph 1. The President of the Republic may call a State Minister to participate in the Council meeting, when the agenda includes a matter related to the respective Ministry. Paragraph 2 - The organization and operation of the Council of the Republic shall be regulated by law.


Subsection II - The National Defense Council

Article 91. The National Defense Council is a consultation body of the President of the Republic on matters related to national sovereignty and the defense of the democratic state, and the following participate in it as natural members: I - the Vice-President of the Republic; II - the President of the Chamber of Deputies; III - the President of the Federal Senate; IV - the Minister of Justice; V - the Minister of Defense; VI - the Minister of External Relations; VII - the Minister of Planning. VIII - the Commanders of the Navy, Army and Air Force.


Clauses V and VIII amended by CA 23, September 2nd 1999. This CA created the Ministry of Defense, extinguishing the Ministries of Navy, Army and Air Force and creating the respective Commanders. See article 84, XIII.


Paragraph 1 - It is the competence of the National Defense Council: I - to express opinion in the event of declaration of war and making of peace, as established in this Constitution; II - to express opinion on the decreeing of state of defense, state of siege and federal intervention; III - to propose the criteria and conditions for the use of areas which are indispensable to the security of the national territory and to express opinion on their actual use, especially on the boundary zone and on those related to the preservation and exploitation of natural resources of any kind; IV - to study, propose and monitor the development of initiatives required to guarantee national independence and the defense of the democratic state. Paragraph 2 - The organization and the operation of the National Defense Council shall be regulated by law.[1]

ReferencesEdit