Dados vol. 56 n. 3 Rio de Janeiro jul./set. 2013

Rio de Janeiro and the National State (1946-2010)

Amorim Neto, Octavio - Santos, Fabiano


This article argues that the political heft of a specific state (Rio de Janeiro) within the Federative Republic of Brazil has to do with how state party politics relates to the national party politics. The article assesses the decline in Rio's role in national politics before and after transfer of the national capital to Brasilia in 1960 and the fusion of Guanabara with the former state of Rio de Janeiro in 1975. The article draws on previously unpublished data and proposes two hypotheses: (1) the share of cabinet posts held by politicians from Rio de Janeiro is largely a function of the state's relative weight in the main governing parties' delegations in the Chamber of Deputies and (2) that the strengthening of the Federal government since the promulgation of the 1988 Constitution prompted Rio to adjust to the party alliances forged by the various Presidents, thereby contributing to a relatively recovery of the state's national political influence in the first decade of the 21st century. Finally, the article provides a normative reflection on the consequences, for Brazil, of Rio de Janeiro's political and economic decline.

Keywords: federalism and political institutions, state politics, Rio de Janeiro

DOI: 10.1590/S0011-52582013000300001

Full text