Dados vol. 31 n. 1 Rio de Janeiro 1988

Presidencialismo de Coalizão: O Dilema Institucional Brasileiro

Abranches, Sérgio Henrique H. de


This article presents an analysis of the major structural traits of the Brazilian political system from which what is called the Brazilian institutional dilemma stems. This dilemma is defined as the need for an institutional arrangement that can efficiently aggregate and manage social, economic and political pressures arising from a very asynchronic process of development, from which a strongly heterogeneous social organization has resulted. For the purposes of this work - a segment of a broader analytical project - the author has chosen to examine the constitutional and political elements of this dilemma, particularly the pattern of the relationship between the Executive and Congress. A comparative analysis of the aggregate institutional characteristics of democratic regimes leads the author to conclude that the Brazilian regime has specificities which characterize íts regime as an instability-prone form of presidentialism: coalition presidentialism. This specific form has as its main structural components: a strong presidency; multipartyism; proportional representation; federalism and coalition government. Since 1946, all formally democratic governments in Brazil have adopted this pattern. Such a pattern requires additional conflict management mechanisms, since government coalitions - based on very heterogeneous interest structures - are extremely unstable, and under presidentialism tend to destabilize the regime itself. Regulating diversity, granting political representation to the many heterogeneous interest formations and simultaneously ensuring regime stability under a strong presidency in cyclical conflict with Congress is the Brazilian institutional dilemma.

Full text

Presidencialismo de Coalizão: O Dilema Institucional Brasileiro