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After Michel Temer (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party) and Jair Bolsonaro (Liberal Party) occupied the presidency of Brazil, negotiations between the Brazilian Executive Branch and the National Congress became more expensive. This is the assessment made by political scientist Cláudio Couto, professor at the Department of Public Management at FGV in São Paulo, when participating in the Brasil de Fato’s podcast Três por Quatro (available in Portuguese).

“The ‘it’s given that you receive’ became more expensive, due to the empowerment of Congress, due to the country that was devastated and needs to be rebuilt, and also due to the much more right-wing Congress, which has more room for maneuver to deal with the Executive Branch, I think that to some extent this has to be attended. There is no room for playing hardball and start getting scolded by the Legislative Branch, because that could end up in defeats”, commented the political scientist.


For Couto, it is more difficult for the new government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Workers’ Party) to negotiate with senators and deputies, since, currently, Congress is much more powerful than it was during his first administrations. The professor states that the Executive Branch lost the “ability to guide the agenda of the Legislative Branch, not least because much of this capacity used to come from a certain control that the government used to have over the budget, and then it could condition the release of resources to the conduct of parliamentarians”.

With a fixed presence at Três por Quatro, João Pedro Stédile, economist and leader of the Landless Workers Movement (MST), confirms and points to the internal pressure against the new Lula government. “It is public and notorious that the government has not had the capacity for political articulation, that is, the Planalto ministers are failing. They haven’t been able to go there in Congress and articulate, or at least to annul the right-wing. They were playing as if it were the republican world: the government does its part, congress does theirs”, he pondered.


In recent weeks, important matters for the Federal Government have been stuck in Brasília, such as Bill 2630/2020, known as the Fake News Bill, which was removed from the agenda; Lula’s nomination of a minister to the Federal Supreme Court, which has yet to get off the ground; and the defeat of the sanitation decree in Congress. 

“It is from the outside in that you can somehow produce this. And even then, with subtlety, because if somehow the government gives the impression that it is putting its group against its congressmen, again, there is a payback. We are not talking about amateurs, we are talking about professional politicians who know how to play this game, who will not simply give in to any kind of pressure”, says Couto.

The relationship between the National Congress and the Federal Government is important for a good management of the new Lula government, but, according to Stédile, the government cannot be hostage to what is decided in Congress. The economist warns about the commitment that the government has with the population and social movements, and about the need to organize concrete proposals that face people’s problems, such as unemployment, income, the country’s industrialization and the construction of houses.

Couto recalls that it is not possible to ignore the strong presence of the opposition in the current government. According to the professor, right-wing and far-right-wing politicians in the country have the power to make noise and will often create embarrassments, as happened, for example, with the installation of the Commission of Inquiry on the MST.

The Lula administration’s big bet for this first half of 2023 is the approval of the Fiscal Framework project. The political scientist is optimistic about the approval of the matter and believes that it should pass with just a few modifications.

Edited by: Flávia Chacon

Brasil de Fato é um site de notícias e uma agência de rádio brasileira, que também possui jornais regionais no Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Paraná e Pernambuco.[1] Possui uma rede nacional...