Political Parties in Brazil - Laws
Law nr. 9096
establishes norms regarding the functioning of Political Parties.
The law was promulgated on September 19th 1995, when Brazil was already a Democracy; the previous laws regarding the matter had been promulgated either during the Military government or just a few years after it finished (in 1985).
Below, some comments about the most relevant articles of the law.
Article 2. The creation, merging or extinguishment of political parties is free, provided that the respective programs respect the national sovereignity, the democratic regime, the pluripartidarism and the fundamental rights of human persons.
Art. 3. Parties have autonomy to define their own structures, organizations and functionings.
Art. 6. Parties are forbidden to provide military or paramilitary instructions, make use of military or paramilitary forces, or adopt uniforms for their members.
Art. 7. Political parties must obtain juridical personality as per the civil legislation, and then register its estatute with the Superior Electoral Tribunal.
The Parties have existence right after obtaining juridical personality, which is relatively easy (basically it's the same process as opening a small business; actually, opening a bakery or a drugstore is more complicated, as sanitary norms must be observed). However, only after the registration with the Electoral Tribunal will the Parties be allowed to participate of elections. Registration is subject to the conditions prescribed by the paragraph 1 of Article 7: the aspiring Party must obtain signatures of citizens supporting its registration, in a number equivalent to at least half per cent (0.5%) of the total votes at the last election of Federal Deputies; besides, such supporting citizens must be distributed over at least one third of Brazilian States, and in each State the number of supporters must be no lower than 0.1% of total citizens.
Paragragh 2 of this article determines that only after registration will the Party participate of the electoral process, receive money from the Partidary Fund and get free access to radio and TV, as detailed further by this law.
So, there are not "regional" parties in Brazil, with actions in only one State or city.
Art. 13. Parliamentary functioning. To reach the status of parliamentary relevance, and so gain rights to receive procedures from the official Party Fund (see article 38 below), a Party must have, in each election for Federal Representatives, five percent of the votes (discouted null and blank ones), distributed over at least one third of Brazilian States, with a minimum of two percent in each State.
Art. 16. Only citizens without restrictions of political rights may become affiliated with Political Parties.
Example of people with restricted political rights are the convicted, any political agent condemned in crimes of responsibility and also, the governants (President, Governors or Mayors) whose accounts are not approved by the Accounting Office.
Art. 18. To participate in elections, the candidate must have been affiliated with a Party for at least one year before the elections.
Art. 23. Loyalty of affiliates. "The responsibility for violation of Partyīs duties will be investigated and judged by the competent body, in conformity with the estatutes of each Party."
That means that each Party is free to decide what to do with affiliates who donīt follow the Party determinations; there have been cases in which Representatives or Senators are expulsed from parties based on this article, but those cases are rare.
Notice that the law has no restrictions for a Representative to change parties; so, itīs much more common that politicians change Party, before being expulsed; read more about
Articles 30 - 37. Funding of Parties. All Parties must maitain proper accountancy, informing the source of all revenues and the destination of all expenses. Article 31 expressly prohibits the following sources of funding: foreigner governments and entities; State agencies, except for the funding described in Article 38; State companies; unions. Individuals and private corporations are allowed to contribute, but with the restrictions stated in Article 39. Parties must produce an yearly Accounting Balance to be appreciated by Electoral Justice; the accounts are available to the public.
Article 38. The Parties Fund. Official fund, resources mostly provenient from budgetary Treasury dotations. The resources of the Fund are distributed according to Article 41: one percent is split, in equal parts, among all Parties registered with the Electoral Justice; the remaining ninety-nine percent are distributed only among the Parties which meet the requirements stated in Article 13 above, in proportion to the number of votes obtained by each Party.
Interesting to notice that resources from the Party Fund are the only ones that parties may count on. Larger, more popular parties receive funds from simpathyzers, but smaller parties depend almost entirely on these official funds.
Article 45. Gratuitous access to radio and television. Parties have legal rights to use the prime times (from 19:30 to 22:00) to transmit their propaganda. Articles 48 and 49 define how much time each Party is granted: larger parties have a total (including Nation and State wide transmissions) of up to 200 minutes per year.
Article 52 determines that the radio and television companies will have tributary compensations in amount equal to the cost of the gratuitous Political transmissions.
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