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Women in decision-making positions

Government organization

Brazil ­­­­­­­is a federal republic with three spheres of government: federal, intermediate (the states and the Federal District), and local.

One tier of central government, one tier of intermediate government composed of states and the Federal districts, and one tier of local government below the states.
Federal government
  • Head of State: The President of the Republic is directly elected by voters.
  • Head of Government: The President of the Republic is the Head of State and the Head of Government.
  • Legislative body: The National Congress is a bicameral legislature, with an upper house (the Federal Senate), and a lower house (the Chamber of Deputies). Members of the National Congress are directly elected by voters.
  • Executive body: The powers of the executive are exercised by the President of the Republic, assisted by the Ministers of the Federal Government, who are appointed by the President of the Republic.
Federal District and state government
  • Legislative body: The legislative assembly (in states) and the Legislative Chamber of the Federal District (in the Federal District) are composed of members who are directly elected by voters.
  • Executive body: The governor, assisted by a lieutenant governor, is directly elected by voters.
Local government
  • Organization: Local government is organized into one tier of 5,570 municipalities. There is no organized local government within the Federal District; the Federal District has the legislative competencies reserved to the states and municipalities.
  • Competencies: Local government is responsible for legislating on subjects of local interest, supplementing federal and state legislation, organizing essential public services of local interest, promoting territorial ordering through planning, and instituting and collecting taxes within their jurisdiction.
  • Ministerial oversight: Ministry of Regional Development

Overview of local government

Local government composition
Municipalities (municípios)

Deliberative body: The municipal council is composed of 9-55 elected members. A council president is elected by and from the municipal council to preside over it; the council president is not vested with executive powers.

Executive body: The mayor, assisted by a vice-mayor, is the executive at the municipal level of government.

Local government elections
Electoral system

Electoral system: for municipal chambers: proportional representation (open list)

  • An open party-list proportional electoral system is used for municipal council elections, according to the d’Hondt system of seat allocation. For elections using the proportional electoral system, each ballot has a space for the voter to write the name/number of the selected candidate, or the acronym/number of the party of the voter’s preference.

Electoral system for mayors: majority/plurality (first-past-the-post)

  • Mayors are directly elected by voters, using a separate ballot from the municipal chamber election.

Source: Electoral Code, 1965 (amended through 2021), articles 83, 84, 104, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110 and 112


Gender quotas: Legislated candidate quotas

  • For the municipal council elections, each candidate list must consist of 30-70% of each gender.

Additional quotas: No

Source: Election Law, 1997 (amended through 2021), article 10§3

Term of elections
  • Term length: 4 years
  • Last local elections: 2020 
  • Next local elections: 2024
Electoral management body

­Superior Electoral Court; Regional Electoral Court


1. UN Women: Data on share of women in local government as of 1 January 2023.

2. UN Women: Information on Head of State and Government as of 3 October 2023.

3. Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU): Data on share of women in the single/lower chamber of parliament as of 1 January 2023.

4. IPU and UN Women: Data on share of women in ministerial positions as of 1 January 2023 (figures correspond to the Government appointed in January 2023 following elections held in 2022).

5. Information on local government organization as of 1 January 2022.