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LatinNews Daily - 02 July 2020

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BRAZIL: Congress votes to postpone municipal elections

On 1 July, Brazil’s federal chamber of deputies held two rounds of voting, in which it approved a constitutional amendment (PEC) for the postponement of the country’s municipal elections, previously due to be held in October this year.


The possibility of delaying this year’s municipal elections due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic had largely been rejected by Brazil’s political representatives in the early days of the pandemic. But as the local Covid-19 outbreak has relentlessly worsened, effectively paralysing campaigning, which would have been expected to (unofficially) begin in May, and raising concerns over the public health implications of holding country-wide elections in October, political and electoral authorities have come round to the necessity of delaying the elections, and succeeded in reaching a broad consensus to achieve this. 

  • This year’s municipal elections were due to be held on 4 October, with a second round scheduled for 25 October. These dates have now been pushed back by six weeks, with the first round scheduled for 15 November and the second for 29 November. Municipalities which continue to face a sanitary emergency could delay elections further still, to as late as 27 December.
  • The chamber of deputies held both rounds of voting necessary to approve the PEC yesterday, maintaining the text approved by the senate on 23 June. The postponement of the elections had been expected to face more resistance in the chamber than in the senate, as deputies are more susceptible than senators to pressure from local mayors (some of whom might have worried about a delay in the vote affecting their re-election chances), but in the end only two minority parties ordered their members to vote against the PEC.
  • Davi Alcolumbre and Rodrigo Maia, the presidents of the senate and chamber respectively, both celebrated the approval of the postponement of the elections as the result of dialogue and consensus between the two chambers of congress, mayors and municipal councillors, electoral authorities, and scientists.

Looking Ahead: A PEC does not require presidential sanction, and congress is expected to promulgate the amendment today (2 July), after which the supreme electoral court (TSE) will update the electoral calendar.