“Battle of Powers”: Book about the Brazilian republican regime to be launched in Washington, D.C.

The English edition includes a new chapter on the Bolsonaro period, which constituted the biggest test of the Brazilian constitutional system’s resilience since the restoration of democracy in the 1980s.
25 三月 2024
“Battle of Powers”: Book about the Brazilian republican regime to be launched in Washington, D.C.

“A Batalha dos Poderes” (“Battle of Powers”), a book originally published by Companhia das Letras in 2018, has now gained an English edition, which will be published by the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center and FGV. The new edition will be launched on March 26, at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

Battle of Powers – Brazil: From Democratic Transition to Constitutional Resilience features a preface by Bruna Santo of the Brazil Institute and it was translated by Bradley Hayes of Yale Law School. The English version has a new chapter, which analyzes “authoritarian strategies operating outside the bounds of legal norms” undertaken by the Jair Bolsonaro administration against Brazilian constitutional democracy, as well as the resistance offered by various actors and institutions, with special emphasis on the Federal Supreme Court. In this chapter, the author, Oscar Vilhena Vieira, uses the concept of “defensive democracy” to explain the Federal Supreme Court’s conduct in the face of threats to the rule of law and Brazilian democracy.

About the Brazilian edition

The original Brazilian edition, A Batalha dos Poderes, was launched by Companhia das Letras in 2018. It analyzes Brazil’s constitutional malaise, aggravated by a series of mass protests in 2013, which revealed the weaknesses of a political system that had previously seemed firmly in place.

Among other phenomena, Vieira points out that disputes have become more polarized and society has become more intolerant and combative. Politics and the law have increasingly been used as weapons to weaken opponents. On the one hand, there was a clash between coalition presidentialism, which was degenerating over time, and law enforcement institutions, which became more autonomous and ambitious. On the other hand, fundamental rights and a whole set of public policies, which had induced numerous positive transformations in Brazilian society over several decades, suddenly found themselves threatened by a strong recession and a growing lack of fiscal control, largely linked to the expansion of privileges of a regressive nature.

A keen observer of the process of constitutionalization of Brazilian political life and a lucid critic of what he calls “Supremocracy,” Vieira points to the fundamental role of the Constitution in enabling democratic processes. He argues that different sectors of Brazilian society, as well as key political and institutional leaders, need to handle their conflicts in line with constitutional rules.

To take part in the launch event, please sign up here.


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