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Electoral reform will shrink the number of political parties in Brazil

An electoral reform once again contributed to decreasing Brazil’s wide variety of political parties.

Out of the 23 parties that got seats in the House in Sunday’s election, only 13 managed to perform well enough to be entitled to the publicly-financed partisan fund and free airtime on television and radio. The analysis was done by digital outlet Poder360.

The 2017 electoral reform introduced increasing thresholds in each election cycle until 2026 for parties to be legally entitled to such perks. They need to either elect a minimum number of House members or get a minimum number of votes nationwide.

Due to their low electoral performance, six parties currently entitled to the partisan fund and airtime lost that right: the Social Christian Party, Solidariedade, Patriota, Pros, Novo, and the Brazilian Labor Party. The latter two nominated presidential candidates this year and, due to a separate law, also lost the mandatory right to be invited to presidential debates on network television.

In 2018, 30 parties managed to elect House members. A few smaller groups merged in order to maintain their access to public funds and airtime. This process can now happen again, leading Brazil to have a smaller number of larger parties rather than vice versa.

Separately, the 21 candidates elected or re-elected to the House who are now members of smaller groups can legally move to a larger party if they so desire.

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