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Book Examines Political Representation and How It Relates to the Quality of Democracy in Brazil

Capa Livro o Congresso Nacional os Partidos Políticos e o Sistema de Integridade

The book O Congresso Nacional, os partidos políticos e o sistema de integridade: representação, participação e controle interinstitucional no Brasil [“Congress, Political Parties and the System of Integrity: Representation, Participation and Inter-Institutional Control in Brazil”], published by USP’s Center for Public Policy Research (NUPPs) and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, will be launched at a seminar on November 24, at 2 pm at the IEA-USP.

Organized by political scientist José Álvaro Moisés, scientific director of NUPPs, the book contains six studies on the performance of representative institutions and how they relate to the quality of democracy in Brazil.

The authors of the book will give the following presentations (corresponding to the chapters of the work) at the seminar:

  • “An Index to Measure the Strength of the Legislature.” José Álvaro Moisés (NUPPs and IEA) and Sérgio Simoni Jr. (Neci and CEBRAP).
  • “Consensus and Representation in Democracy: A Systemic and Individual Analysis of Support to Political Parties in Comparative Perspective.” Gabriela de Oliveira Carneiro (NUPPs).
  • “Who Are the Brazilian Representatives? An Overview of Biographical Profiles from 1986 to 2012.” Rafael Moreira Dardaque Mucinhato (NUPPs).
  • “Women’s Political Representation and the Quality of Democracy: The Case of Brazil.” José Álvaro Moisés (NUPPs and IEA) and Beatriz Rodrigues Sanchez (NUPPs).
  • “External Control of the Federal Court of Accounts [TCU] and the Role of Accountability in the Debate on the Quality of Democracy.” Leandro Consentino (Insper, Mário Covas Foundation and NUPPs).
  • “The Role of Internal Controls in Combating Corruption: The Experience of the Federal Office of the Comptroller General [CGU] in the Brazilian Executive.” Bruno Rico (NUPPs).

 

Panel members will include Fátima Anastásia, professor at UFMG and PUC-MG, and Claudio Cout, professor at Fundação Getúlio Vargas, São Paulo. The event will be coordinated by José Álvaro Moisés.

The book launch is being organized by NUPPs and by IEA’s Quality of Democracy Research Group, coordinated by Moisés. Those attending the event will receive a complimentary copy of the book, and the digital edition may be downloaded from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation website.

THE WORK OF THE REPRESENTATIVES

According to Moisés, the book is a contribution to the empirical researches of democracy that have been carried out in Brazil over the last 25 years, i.e., since the enactment of the Federal Constitution in 1988. With support from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, this study involved the work of two senior researchers and six assistants – graduate and undergraduate students of the Department of Political Science of USP’s School of Philosophy, Languages and Literature, and Human Sciences (FFLCH) – who examined the track record of Brazilian representatives and senators in the legislatures of 1995-1998, 1999-2002, 2003-2006 and 2007-2010. The databases were organized with information provided by the Center for Information and Documentation of the House of Representatives.

The book O Congresso Nacional, os partidos políticos e o sistema de integridade: representação, participação e controle interinstitucional no Brasil [“Congress, Political Parties and the Integrity System: Representation, Participation and Inter-Institutional Control in Brazil”], published by USP’s Center for Public Policy Research (NUPPs) and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, will be launched at a seminar on November 24, at 2:00 pm at the IEA. The event will be broadcast live over the Web.

The book presents partial results from studies that examined the role of Congress, the profile and performance of elected representatives, and the support given by the Brazilian people to political parties. Moisés explains that the analyses adopt a comparative perspective with other Latin American countries and with recent cases of democratization. The goal is to “assess and measure the quality of Brazilian democracy, and in this sense, contribute to examine the political representation of women and the role of the Federal Court of Accounts and of the Federal Office of the Comptroller General as part of a system of integrity that interacts with Congress.”

ACCOUNTABILITY

These dimensions of the workings of a democratic regime are seen as essential to measure the quality of democracy, “particularly with regards to the concepts of accountability (horizontal and vertical) and responsiveness,” explains Moisés. In the book’s Introduction, he states that, ultimately, what is at issue is how Parliament and the political parties perform, on one hand, their representative duty (i.e., the mechanisms through which the preferences of voters are taken into account by the political system), and, on the other, their role as oversight & control bodies through which society limits the risks of abuses of power.

“Whereas the function of representation organizes the relationships between political majorities and minorities based on the principle of majority decisions, the mission related to the concept of inter-institutional accountability has the role of providing updated information with which voters make their choices.” Moisés points out that this is the reason that representation is seen in the study as “an extremely important determinant of political participation.”

The event will be broadcast live on the web.