Full name: Federative Republic of Brazil (Republica Federativa do Brasil)
Official language: Portuguese (many Amerindian languages and a few European languages are also spoken, but the only official language is Portuguese)
Government type: Federal presidential republic
Parliament: Brazil has a bicameral parliament (the Congresso Nacional [National Congress]) comprising the Câmara dos Deputados (Chamber of Deputies) and the Senado (Senate).
The Cămara has 513 deputados (Members of Parliament) representing the country’s 27 states. The number of deputados per state is weighted according to its population: larger states are allowed up to 70, with smaller states represented by no fewer than 8.
The Senado comprises 81 senadores (senators) – 3 per state.
Executive: The President is both Head of State and Head of Government and is responsible for appointing the Cabinet.
Judiciary: Highest court – Supreme Federal Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal)
Other national courts include the Federal Court of Auditors (Tribunal de Contas da Uniăo), Superior Court of Justice (Superior Tribunal de Justiga), Superior Labour Court (Tribunal Superior do Trabalho) and Superior Electoral Court (Tribunal Superior Eleitoral). These are overseen by the National Justice Council (Conselho Nacional de Justiga).
Courts of first and second instance are at regional level.
Geographical and administrative structure
Brazil is divided into federative units (unidades federativas): 26 states (estados) plus one federal district (Distrito Federal), the capital Brasilia. Each state has its own executive, legislative and judiciary branches. There are 5 570 municipalities, each with its own local government comprising a mayor (prefeito) and a legislative body called the municipal chamber (cămara municipal). Another territorial subdivision is the comarca (no translation in English), which is a judicial district covering one or more municipalities.
The vast majority of the population live on, or in the vicinity of, the Atlantic coast: in cities from Porto Alegre (in the state of Rio Grande do Sul) in the far south to Fortaleza (in the state of Ceara) in the far north, via the huge population centres of Săo Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in the south-east. When writing Brazilian geographical names (cities, rivers, etc.) native spellings should always be used.
Source: Country Compendium – A companion to the English Style Guide‘, © European Union, 1995-2022, licensed under the (CC BY 4.0) license
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