Hybrid Political Institutions and Governability: The Budgetary Process in Brazil

Carlos Pereira, Salomon Orellana


In this paper we take a close look at some of the particular pathways by which majoritarian and consensual institutions affect governability. We demonstrate that the mix of majoritarian and consensual institutions found within a country can influence these pathways quite dramatically, such that they produce rather different consequences for governability, even when these pathways are relatively similar in nature. Particularly, we focus on the rules governing the relationship between the President and the Legislature, especially the appropriation of amendments proposed by legislators. In some presidential countries, the President possesses a partial veto (or a line-item veto), which allows him/her to approve or strike appropriations, which legislators introduce in amendments. Concentrating on the case of Brazil, we argue and demonstrate that whether or not the President can use this tool to sustain governing majorities (i.e., to in-crease governability) depends on the kind of amendment to the budget intro-duced by legislators. One kind, individual amendment, is linked to the majori-tarian institution of a powerful presidency and therefore helps to increase governability. A second kind, collective amendment, is linked to consensual institutions and actually does not enhance legislative support for the Executive.

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