In Brazilian multiparty presidentialism, the distribution of ministries is one of the institutionalized means of exchange which the president has to manage the coalition and promote governability. In order to obtain in Congress the votes necessary to approve the reforms it intends to execute, the interim government of Michel Temer composed a broad coalition and had signaled its intention of constructing a party base which favors its interlocution with the legislature. The government has thus shared command of ministries between the coalition parties in a balanced manner. An FGV/DAPP survey shows that in the ministerial distribution of the interim government, only 9.4% of authorized funds (or R$ 106.56 billion) and 11.6% of discretionary funds (R$15.39 billion) allocated to ministries are administered by the PMDB. In terms of the number of ministries, the party holds seven. However, in budgetary terms it shares with allied parties the command of ministries with greater funds.
DEM, despite controlling only the Ministry of Education, administers the position with the highest discretionary amount, R$28.88 billion. The PP is the next in terms of the administration of ministries with the most discretionary funds, in charge of Health and Agriculture, with R$26.65 billion, followed by the PSDB, in charge of Justice, Foreign Relations, and Cities, with R$16.22 billion.
In terms of the administration of the total authorized budget (including values with an obligatory and discretionary nature) the PSD leads, with R$547.94 billion. This is because the Ministry of Social Security (now part of the Ministry of Finance), has Henrique Meirelles as the minister, who joined the PSD in 2011, has the highest budget of all, with the largest part used to obligatory expenditure. Next is the PP, with ministries totalizing R$131.16 billion of funds and the PMDB itself, which administers R$106.56 billion.
The Lula and Dilma Administrations
In relation to the Lula and Dilma administrations, the survey of the budgetary distribution shows that the previous governments adopted broad coalitions and the PT administered positions in which a large part of the total budget of ministries was concentrated. In the second Lula government, for example, the PT administered ministries which accounted for R$218.27 billion of authorized funds and R$31.16 billion of discretionary funds, referring to Planning, Defense, Education, Finance, Social Security, Labor and Employment, Environment, Agrarian Development, Social Development, and Fishing and Agriculture.
With the change of command of Social Security from the PMDB in the first Dilma administration, to the PT after her re-election, the Workers’ Party came to administer R$254.20 billion out of the R$772.32 billion of the authorized budget. In the administration of discretionary funds, the party proportionally maintained levels similar to those of Lula in relation to the participation of the party in the administration of discretionary funds (R$61.80 billion in the first administration and R$63.62 billion in the second).
On the other hand, the coalition appears to have been less privileged in the allocation of ministries during Petista administrations. In the second Lula and the first Dilma administrations, the PMDB, an important coalition party and with almost the same number of seats in Congress, administered ministries which totalized discretionary budgets of R$13.77 billion and R$23.49 billion. In the initial ministries in Dilma’s re-elected administration, the six PMDB positions represented the administration of R$12.01 billion of the discretionary budget and R$26.52 billion of the authorized, when they held 66 seats in the Chamber of deputies, in comparison with the 70 the PT held.