Brazilian lawmakers consider revamping electoral system

Brazilian lawmakers consider revamping electoral system

Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies votes on a political reform package today in an attempt to salvage the country’s political order

Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty

Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty

Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies votes on a political reform package today in an attempt to salvage the country’s political order as corruption investigations abound.

The reforms would set up a $1.2 billion election fund in a bid to stop the use of campaign contributions as kickbacks. The electoral system itself would be replaced with the new “distritao” system for the 2018 elections, in which votes would be allocated to individual candidates rather than to political parties.

Distritao has come under fire, with critics claiming it will merely allow corrupt leaders to entrench themselves in office through their higher name recognition. Proponents argue it is necessary to cut down on the bloated number of political parties in Congress, totalling 25 in the chamber. Small parties, naturally, are not pleased.

If the reform is passed, do not expect a new electoral system to rescue Congress in Brazilians’ eyes; only 3% say they have confidence in the legislature. That number is unlikely to improve if a new vote-counting method elects the same candidates.