sábado, 4 de dezembro de 2010

TEXT: THE BRAZILIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS

The National Congress of Brazil is the supreme legislative body of Brazil. Unlike regional legislative bodies - Legislative Assemblies and City Councils -, the Congress is bicameral, composed of the Federal Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.

The Senate represents the 26 states and the Federal District, and its members are elected by a majority of the votes. The Chamber of Deputies represents the people of each state, and its members are elected by a proportional representation of votes. This is due to federalism being adopted as the form of government in the country. The Congress meets annually in its Brasília seat from 2 February to 27 July and from 1 August to 22 December. Until Constitutional Amendment number 50 of February 2006, this period was from 15 February to 30 June and from 1 August to 15 December (according to internal rules of the Chamber of Deputies).

The President of the National Congress is the President of the Senate (currently José Sarney), once the President of the Chamber (currently Michel Temer) is the third in the presidential line of succession.

The Chamber of Deputies comprises 513 federal deputies, who are elected by a proportional representation of votes to serve a four-year term. Elections are based on a complex system of proportional representation by states. The seats are allotted proportionally according to each state's population, but each state is eligible for a minimum of eight seats (least populated) and a maximum of 70 seats (most populated).

Since the 1960s, the National Congress has its seat in Brasília. As most of the government buildings in the city, it was designed by Oscar Niemeyer following the style of modern Brazilian architecture.

The semi-sphere on the left is the seat of the Senate, and the semi-sphere on the right is the seat of the Chamber of the Deputies. Among them there are two vertical towers of offices. The Congress also occupies other surrounding buildings, some of them interconnected by a tunnel.

The building is located in the middle of the Monumental Axis, main street of Brasília. In front of it, there is a large lawn, where demonstrations take place. At behind it, is the Praça dos Três Poderes, where lies the Palácio do Planalto and the Supremo Tribunal Federal.

( Adapted from www.wikipedia.org)

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