Federal Senate (Brazil)

The Federal Senate (Portuguese: Senado Federal) is the upper house of the National Congress of Brazil. When created under the Imperial Constitution in 1824, it was based on the House of Lords of the British Parliament, but since the Proclamation of the Republic in 1889 and under the first republican Constitution the Federal Senate has resembled the United States Senate.

Federal Senate

Senado Federal
56th Legislature of the National Congress
Term limits
FoundedMay 6, 1826 (1826-05-06)
New session started
February 2, 2022 (2022-02-02)
Rodrigo Pacheco, PSD
since 1 February 2021
Government Leader
Jaques Wagner, PT
since 3 January 2023
Majority Leader
Renan Calheiros, MDB
since 4 February 2021
Opposition Leader
since 3 January 2023
Minority Leader
since 25 February 2023
Female Caucus Leader
Eliziane Gama, Cidadania
since 17 February 2021
Political groups
Government (59)[1]
  •   PSD (15)
  •   MDB (12)
  •   PL (8)
  •   PODE (7)
  •   PP (6)
  •   UNIÃO (6)
  •   PTB (2)
  •   PSC (1)
  •   Republicanos (1)
  •   Independent (1)

Opposition (22)[1]

Length of term
8 years
SalaryR$ 33,763.00 (and benefits)[2]
Plurality voting, alternating every four years between single-member elections (FPTP) and dual-member elections (block voting)
Last election
2 October 2022
Next election
4 October 2026
Meeting place
Senate plenary chamber
National Congress building
Brasília, Federal District, Brazil

The current president of the Federal Senate is Rodrigo Pacheco, a member of the Social Democratic Party from Minas Gerais. He was elected in February, 2021 for a two-year term.


The Senate has 81 members, serving an eight-year term of office. There are three senators from each of the country's 27 federative units, the Federal District and the 26 states. Elections are staggered so that either a third or two-thirds of senators are up for election every four years. The most recent election took place in 2022, where one-third of the Senate was elected.

Electoral system

Elections are held under the first-past-the-post and block voting systems. In years when a third of members are up for election, voters can cast only one vote and the candidate who receives a plurality of votes within their state is elected. In years when two-thirds of members are up for election, voters can cast two votes. People can not vote for the same candidate twice, but each party can field up to two candidates in each state. The two highest-placed candidates in each state are elected.


The Federal Senate of Brazil was established as the Imperial Senate by the Constitution of 1824, first enacted after the Declaration of Independence. It was modelled on the House of Lords of the British Parliament.[3]

Following independence, in 1822, Emperor Pedro I ordered the convocation of a Assembleia Geral Constituinte e Legislativa (Legislative and Constituent General Assembly) to draft the country's first Constitution. Following several disagreements with the elected deputies (which included representatives from present-day Uruguay, then part of the Brazilian Empire under the name of Província Cisplatina), the Emperor dissolved the Assembly. In 1824, Pedro I implemented the first Constitution which established a legislative branch with the Chamber of Deputies as the lower house, and the Senate as an upper house.

The first configuration of the Senate was a consulting body to the Emperor. Membership was for life and it was a place of great prestige, to which only a small part of the population could aspire. The original Senate had 50 members, representing all of the Empire's provinces, each with a number of senators proportional to its population. In addition to these elected senators, daughters and sons of the Emperor aged at least 25 were senators by right.

The elected members of the Senate had to be at least 40 years old and have an annual income of 800,000 contos-de-réis, which limited candidates to wealthy citizens. Voters also faced an income qualification. Voting in an election for the Senate was limited to male citizens with an annual income of at least 200,000 contos-de-réis. Those who qualified for this did not vote directly for senators; instead, they voted for candidates to be Senate electors. To be a Senate elector required an annual income of 400,000 contos-de-réis. Once elected, these electors would then vote for senator. The election itself would not result in a winner automatically. The three candidates receiving the most votes would make up what was called a "triple list", from which the Emperor would select one individual that would be considered "elected". The Emperor usually chose the candidate with the most votes, but it was within his discretion to select whichever of the three individuals listed.

Following the adoption of the 1824 Constitution, the first session of the Senate took place in May 1826. The Emperor had repeatedly delayed calling the first election, which had led to accusations that he would attempt to establish an absolutist government.

The Proclamation of the Republic in 1889 ended the Brazilian Empire in favor of the First Republic. The 1891 Constitution was then adopted, transforming Brazil's provinces into states and the Senate into an elected body. This was retained under later constitutions, including the current 1988 Constitution. Now known as the Federal Senate, it resembles the United States Senate in that each state has the same number of senators.

Presiding Board

The current composition of the Mesa Diretora (Presiding Board) of the Federal Senate is as follows:

Office Name Party State
President Rodrigo Pacheco PSD Minas Gerais
1st Vice-President Veneziano Vital do Rêgo MDB Paraíba
2nd Vice-President Romário Faria PL Rio de Janeiro
1st Secretary Irajá Abreu PSD Tocantins
2nd Secretary Elmano Férrer PP Piauí
3rd Secretary Rogério Carvalho PT Sergipe
4th Secretary Weverton Rocha PDT Maranhão
1st Substitute Jorginho Mello PL Santa Catarina
2nd Substitute Luiz do Carmo PSC Goiás
3rd Substitute Eliziane Gama Cidadania Maranhão
4th Substitute Zequinha Marinho PL Pará



The current composition[4] of the Senate (56th Legislature) is as follows:

Parties in the 56th Federal Senate
Party Floor leader Seats  % of seats
Brazilian Democratic Movement Eduardo Braga 15 18.52%
Social Democratic Nelsinho Trad 11 13.58%
Podemos Alvaro Dias 9 11.11%
Brazilian Social Democracy Roberto Rocha 7 8.64%
Progressistas Daniella Ribeiro 7 8.64%
Workers' Paulo Rocha 7 8.64%
Democrats Marcos Rogério 6 7.41%
Cidadania Alessandro Vieira 3 3.70%
Democratic Labour Weverton Rocha 3 3.70%
Liberal Carlos Portinho 3 3.70%
Republican Party of the Social Order Telmário Mota 3 3.70%
Republicanos Mecias de Jesus 2 2.47%
Sustainability Network Randolfe Rodrigues 1 1.24%
Brazilian Socialist Leila Barros 1 1.24%
Social Christian Zequinha Marinho 1 1.24%
Social Liberal Soraya Thronicke 1 1.24%
Total 81 100.0%

Current senators

Standing committees

Committee Chair
Agriculture and Agrarian Reform Acir Gurgacz (PDT-RO)
Constitution, Justice and Citizenship Davi Alcolumbre (UNIÃO-AP)
Economic Affairs Otto Alencar (PSD-BA)
Education, Culture and Sports Marcelo Castro (MDB-PI)
Environment Jaques Wagner (PT-BA)
Ethics and Parliamentary Decorum Jayme Campos (UNIÃO-MT)
External Relations and National Defence Kátia Abreu (PP-TO)
Human Rights and Participative Legislation Humberto Costa (PT-PE)
Infrastructure Services Dário Berger (PSB-SC)
Public Security Omar Aziz (PSD-AM)
Regional Development and Tourism Fernando Collor (PTB-AL)
Senate of the Fure Izalci Lucas (PSDB-DF)
Science, Technology, Innovation, Communication and Computing Rodrigo Cunha (UNIÃO-AL)
Social Affairs Sérgio Petecão (PSD-AC)
Transparency, Governance, Inspection and Control and Consumer Defence José Reguffe (UNIÃO-DF)

See also

  • Federal institutions of Brazil



  1. "A configuração da Câmara após a investida de Bolsonaro". Nexo (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  2. Santos, Larissa (11 January 2021). "Saiba quanto ganham os presidentes do Senado e da Câmara". CNN Brasil (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  3. "Senado Federal completa hoje 185 anos". R7 (in Portuguese). 6 May 2011. Retrieved 22 May 2012. O Senado Federal foi criado com a primeira Constituição do Império, outorgada em 1824, inspirado, primeiramente, na Câmara dos Lordes da Grã-Bretanha. Sua primeira reunião ocorreu em 6 de maio de 1826..
  4. "Lideranças Parlamentares" (in Brazilian Portuguese). Senado Federal. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
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