Brazil Constitution - Questions and Answers
Q: How difficult is it to amend the Constitution?
A: Very difficult. An amendment must be approved in four rounds, two in the Chamber and two in the Senate. In each round, the amendment must have votes from two thirds of each house. Some matters can not be subject of a proposal of amendment (see below).
Q: Is there any subject which can not be subject of a Constitutional Amendment?
A: Yes. Article 60 of the Constitution lists the parties allowed to propose amendments. Paragraph 4 of that article reads: "No proposal of amendment shall be considered which is aimed at abolishing: the federative form of State; the direct, secret, universal and periodic vote; the separation of the Government Powers; individual rights and guarantees."
Individuals rights and guarantees are listed in Article 5 of the Constitution.
Q: Why are there so many amendments to the Constitution?
First off, because the Constitution, from the beginning, was outdated; read these comments on the Constitution.
Second, because there is little trusting among political parties in Brazil. Turning a norm into a Constitutional command makes it a little more likely that the norm will be fulfilled (not always the case; see, for example, the case of the minimum wage, which, according to article 7, clause IV, should be enough to pay for the basic needs of a family, and is far from that). A law approved by a government today may be easierly changed by the next government; having it as a Constitutional norm, changes are more difficult.
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