On January 6, 1963, the nation of Brazil was asked to vote on changes to their constitution which had been made two years previously. The changes transferred powers from the President’s office to Brazil’s elected National Congress. In short, the amendment was an attempt at a sort of parliamentarianism. The entire concept was overwhelmingly rejected by the Brazilian people, 82% of whom rejected the changes.
On the surface, this appears to be a wholesale rejection of democratic principles, a landslide reactionary vote in favour of authoritarianism. As is so often the case, there was a lot more to this national referendum than immediately meets the eye. And like the best instalments of The West Wing or House of Cards, this is a brilliantly complicated piece of political chaos involving multiple characters. Let’s run through the main players now.
Quadros in 1961
Jânio da Silva Quadros – Quadros has risen…
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