They say that the election is the party of democracy. In the case of Brazil, a gala, with the highest cost in the world, pays for you. At least that’s what a survey by CouponValido.com.br points out. According to a survey by the company, which uses information from the TSE as a basis, from the Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics (IMPA) and the World Bank, the country spends, on average, US$ 789 million per year on electoral campaigns and party support. The number is more than double that of the second place, Mexico, which has an average annual expenditure of US$ 307 million.
All this spending has historical origins. It gained strength with the Organic Law of Political Parties (Law 4,740, published in the Castello Branco government, during the military dictatorship, now revoked), and grew even more after the 1988 Constitution. According to Simone Lemos, professor of history and doctor in Brazilian politics, the deputies who wrote our Magna Carta sought to make the Brazilian political structure the most comprehensive and plural possible. “This multipartyism is born out of a utopia that democracy requires an immense range of parties, which has proven to be a lie,” she said. The result of this is that, taking advantage of the electoral legislation, the parties proliferated, motivated not by ideological differences, but by the collection potential that each party has. Brazil currently has 32 political parties, ranking as the second country with the most parties in the world. At the top of the list is India, with 36 subtitles to represent a population of 1.38 billion people. Among our neighbors, Argentina has 19 parties; Chile, 16.
In practice, the Brazilian party system creates a bargaining chip, with smaller parties using their financial resources and structure to support other parties through coalitions. And the figures are not small. Each Brazilian parliamentarian costs US$ 5 million a year, which is equivalent to 528 times the average income of the population. “The number is more than double the expenditure of the runner-up, Argentina, with an expenditure of 228 times the average income”, details the survey by CouponValido.
And with this volume of parties entitled to participate in the democratic party, naturally public spending for everyone to have the spotlight is also thunderous, so much so that the money spent on electoral campaigns is surprising. According to TSE data, in 2020, R$ 953 million were transferred through the Electoral Fund. But Brazil still has the Special Fund for Financial Assistance to Political Parties, or Party Fund, created in 1965 to defray the daily expenses of legends, such as electricity, water, rent, airline tickets and employees’ salaries. In 2019, the approval of the electoral mini-reform started to allow the use of the Party Fund for other expenses: boosting content on the internet, purchasing airline tickets for non-affiliates and hiring lawyers and accountants.
In terms of spending, according to CouponValido, printed materials lead, representing 20.9% of the total. The production of programs (radio, television or video) is in second place, with 8.8%. In third place, with 8.6% of expenses, is the cost of militancy and street mobilization activities. This figure, however, does not include the internal collection capacity of each party, which must follow the guidelines of the Superior Electoral Court, but allows, for example, individuals to help finance campaigns. A rich party in which few have fun – and which only impoverishes Brazilian families.
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