Chapters 3-5

Nationality, Political Rights and Parties


Article 12. The following are Brazilians:

  1. by birth:
  • a) those born in the Federative Republic of Brazil, even if of foreign parents, provided that they are not at the service of their country
  • b) those born abroad, of a Brazilian father or a Brazilian mother, provided that either of them is at the service of the Federative Republic of Brazil
  • c) those born abroad, to a Brazilian father or a Brazilian mother, provided that they are registered with a competent Brazilian authority, or come to reside in the Federative Republic of Brazil, and opt for the Brazilian nationality at any time after reaching majority
  1. naturalized
  • a) those who, as set forth by law, acquire Brazilian nationality, it being the only requirement for persons originating from Portuguese-speaking countries the residence for one uninterrupted year and good moral repute
  • b) foreigners of any nationality, resident in the Federative Republic of Brazil for over 15 uninterrupted years and without criminal conviction, provided that they apply for the Brazilian nationality.

Paragraph 1. The rights inherent to Brazilians shall be attributed to Portuguese citizens with permanent residence in Brazil, if there is reciprocity in favour of Brazilians, except in the cases stated in this Constitution.

Paragraph 2. The law may not establish any distinction between born and naturalized Brazilians, except in the cases stated in this Constitution.

Paragraph 3. The following offices are exclusive for born Brazilians:

  1. those of President and Vice-President of the Republic;
  2. that of President of the Chamber of Deputies;
  3. that of President of the Federal Senate;
  4. that of Justice of the Supreme Federal Court;
  5. those of the diplomatic career;
  6. that of officer of the Armed Forces;
  7. that of Minister of Defense.

Paragraph 4. Loss of nationality shall be declared for a Brazilian who:

  1. has his naturalization cancelled by court decision on account of an activity harmful to the national interests;
  2. acquires another nationality, save in the cases:
  • a) of recognition of the original nationality by the foreign law;
  • b) of imposition of naturalization, under the foreign rules, to the Brazilian resident in a foreign State, as a condition for permanence in its territory, or for the exercise of civil rights.

Article 13.

Portuguese is the official language of the Federative Republic of Brazil

Paragraph 1. The national flag, anthem, coat of arms and seal are the symbols of the Federative Republic of Brazil. Paragraph 2. The states, the Federal District and the municipalities may have symbols of their own.

CHAPTER 4: Political Rights

Article 14. The sovereignty of the people shall be exercised by universal suffrage and by the direct and secret voting, with equal value for all, and, according to the law, by means of:

  1. plebiscite;
  2. referendum;
  3. people’s initiative. Paragraph 1. Electoral enrollment and voting are:
  4. mandatory for persons over eighteen years of age;
  5. optional for: a) the illiterate; b) those over seventy years of age; c) those over sixteen and under eighteen years of age. Paragraph 2. Foreigners cannot register as voters and neither can conscripts during their period of compulsory military service; Paragraph 3. The conditions for eligibility, according to the law, are:
  6. the Brazilian nationality;
  7. the full exercise of the political rights;
  8. the electoral enrollment;
  9. the electoral domicile in the electoral district;
  10. the membership in a political party;
  11. the minimum age of: a) thirty-five years for President and Vice-President of the Republic and Senator; b) thirty years for Governor and Vice-Governor of a state and of the Federal District; Fundamental Rights and Guarantees 25c) twenty-one years for Federal Deputy, State or District Deputy, Mayor, Vice- Mayor, and justice of the peace; d) eighteen years for City Councilman.

Paragraph 4. The illiterate and those that cannot be registered as voters are not eligible.

Paragraph 5. The President of the Republic, the State and Federal District Governors, the Mayors and those who have succeeded or replaced them during their terms of office may be reelected for only one subsequent term.

Paragraph 6. In order to run for other offices, the President of the Republic, the State and Federal District Governors and the Mayors have to resign from their respective offices at least six months in advance of the election.

Paragraph 7. The spouse and relatives by blood or marriage, up to the second degree or by adoption, of the President of the Republic, of the Governor of a State or Territory or of the Federal District, of a Mayor or of those who have replaced them within the six months preceding the election, are not eligible in the jurisdiction of the incumbent, unless they already hold an elective office and are candidates for re-election.

Paragraph 8. A member of the Armed Forces that can be registered as voter is eligible if the following conditions are met

  1. if he has less than ten years of service, he shall have to take leave from military activities;
  2. if he has more than ten years of service, he shall be discharged of military duties by his superiors and, if elected, he shall automatically pass into retirement upon the issuing of the official certificate of electoral victory.

Paragraph 9. In order to protect the administrative probity, the morality for the exercise of the office, the previous life of the candidate being considered, and the normality and legitimacy of the elections against the influence of the economic power or of the abuse in the holding of office, position or job in the direct or indirect public administration, a supplementary law shall establish other cases of ineligibility and the periods for such ineligibilities to cease.

Paragraph 10. The exercise of an elective mandate may be impugned before the Electoral Courts within a period of fifteen days after the date of the issuing of the official certificate of electoral victory, substantiating the suit with evidence of abuse of economic power, corruption or fraud.

Paragraph 11. The procedure of the suit impugning the office shall be secret, and the plaintiff shall be liable under the law if the suit is reckless or involves manifest bad faith.

Article 15. Disfranchisement of political rights is forbidden, the loss or suspension of which rights shall apply only in the event of:

  1. cancellation of naturalization by a final and unappealable judgement;
  2. absolute civil incapacity;
  3. final and unappealable criminal sentence, for as long as its effects last;
  4. refusal to comply with an obligation imposed upon everyone or to render an alternative service, according to article 5, 8
  5. administrative dishonesty, according to article 37, paragraph 4.

Article 16. The law that alters the electoral procedure shall come into force on the date of its publication, and shall not apply to the elections that take place within one year of it being in force.

CHAPTER 5: Political Parties

Article 17. The creation, amalgamation, merger and extinction of political parties is free, with due regard for national sovereignty, the democratic regime, the plurality of political parties, the fundamental rights of the individual, and observing the following precepts:

  1. national character
  2. prohibition from receiving financial assistance from a foreign entity or government or from subordination to same
  3. rendering of accounts to the Electoral Courts
  4. operation in the National Congress in accordance with the law.

Paragraph 1. Political parties are ensured of autonomy to define their internal structure, organization, and operation, and to adopt the selection criteria and the composition of their electoral coalitions, without being required to follow the same party alliances at the national, state, Federal District, or municipal levels, and their by-laws shall establish rules of party loyalty and discipline.

Paragraph 2. After acquiring corporate legal status under civil law, political parties shall register their by-laws at the Superior Electoral Court.

Paragraph 3. Political parties are entitled to monies from the party fund and to free-of-charge access to radio and television, as established by law.

Paragraph 4. Political parties are forbidden to use paramilitary organizations.


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