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The Military Régime
In the period between João Goulart's deposition (1964) and Tancredo Neves' election (1985), the electoral legislation was characterized by a series of institutional acts, constitutional amendments, laws and decree laws through which the military régime controlled the electoral process according to its interests, seeking to establish the order intended by the movement of 1964 and to obtain a majority favorable to the government. With this goal, the régime altered the duration of mandates; annulled political rights; called indirect elections for President of the Republic, state and territory Governors, and mayors of spring water municipalities and those considered of interest to the national security; instituted ex officio candidacies, the bound vote and "subparties"; and altered the calculation of the number of deputies in the Chamber, at times according to the population, others to the electorate, privileging politically inferior states to the prejudice of those traditionally more expressive, thus reinforcing the government's discretionary power.
On July 15th, 1965, an organic law of political parties (Law No. 4740) was sanctioned. Soon afterwards, on October 27th, the Institutional Act (AI) No. 2 extinguished the political parties.
Moreover, in the same year the Complementary Act No. 4 ordered the National Congress to create organizations with attributions of political parties, which gave origin to the National Renovating Alliance (ARENA, government's supporter) and to the Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB, the opposition).
The Institutional Act No. 5, of December 13th, 1968, suspended the guarantees of the Constitution of 1967 and increased the dictatorial powers of the President of the Republic, allowing him to decree the recess of the National Congress in 1968.
Aiming at controlling the electorate and the National Congress, Falcão's Law (No. 6339/1976) restricted the electoral campaign, forbidding political debates in the media. In 1977, Constitutional Amendment No. 8 instituted the "bionic" senator [who would take office without having been elected].
The Constitutional Amendment No. 11/1978 revoked the institutional and complementary acts imposed by the military and modified the demands for the organization of political parties. On November 19th, 1980, the Amendment No. 15 reestablished direct elections for Governors and senators and eliminated the bionic senator.
Law No. 6767, of December 20th, 1979, extinguished the ARENA and the MDB, and reestablished multipartism, showing the first signs of political openness.
Five military presidents were elected indirectly. The Brazilian society then mobilized, mainly in the biggest cities, demanding political changes that led to the redemocratization of the Country. However, the election of a civil President toward the end of the régime was indirect, carried out through an electoral assembly; President-elect Tancredo Neves died before his installation, so Vice-president José Sarney took office in 1985.