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  • Throughout 2021, the year that preceded the elections, the government of Jair Bolsonaro (PL) made efforts to roll back rights that had already been won and to promote authoritarian decisions in many different areas. Pacto pela Democracia has acted vigilantly to react to anti-democratic projects and take a stand in defense of the Democratic Rule of Law and especially against attempts by government bodies to weaken freedom of expression. Some of these actions are described below.

    Law for the Defense of the Democratic State

    Throughout Bolsonaro's term as president, the National Security Law (LSN) was extensively used to persecute opponents of the former president, including journalists, academics, and social leaders. Against this backdrop, the legislature and the judiciary began working on a project to abolish the LSN and define crimes against the Democratic State of Law.

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    Recognizing the importance of this project, the Pact played a crucial role throughout the entire process of debating and constructing this new legislation, mobilizing various civil society organizations in advocacy strategies that sought to ensure the quality of the text.


    This task force took part in meetings with the National Congress Working Group set up to draft the project. Although at first we struggled to avoid hastening the development of such an important project for the defense of democracy in the country, we secured important spaces for dialogue that ensured the text fulfilled its mission of defending the Democratic State without undermining democratic rights and freedoms.


    The law was promulgated; however, some items were vetoed by former President Bolsonaro. We then worked to have Congress overturn some of the vetoes. Repealing the LSN, an outdated law entirely incompatible with a democratic society, and starting to build a legal framework focused on defending the Democratic State of Law was a major step forward. The new Law on Crimes against the Democratic State has been precisely one of the legal instruments most used to hold those involved accountable for the coup attempts on January 8, 2023.

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    "Freio na Reforma" campaign

    In 2021, the Chamber of Deputies, under the direct leadership of its president, Arthur Lira (PP/AL), presented a set of electoral system reform projects that became the biggest proposal to change the framework of electoral laws in the last 30 years. Presented in May, the idea was to approve it before October, to come into effect in the general elections of 2022. This imposed an extremely accelerated pace, without time for the qualified debate that the topic required, without dialogue or participation from civil society. The projects posed serious threats to the political-electoral system, particularly regarding representation, transparency, social control, and the conduct of elections.


    Faced with this scenario, Pacto pela Democracia, together with ITS Rio, Transparência Partidária and dozens of other organizations in the network, created the "Freio na Reforma" ["Put on the Brakes on the Reform”] campaign. It operated over five months to alert society about the risks of these proposals, analyze the various articles being written, and act to prevent the project from advancing. We developed joint positions, submitted content to major media outlets, organized thematic live events, engaged in legislative advocacy with deputies and senators driving the reform, held strategic meetings with ministers and key figures in Electoral Justice, coordinated mobilization efforts with civil society, applied pressure through social media, produced thematic technical notes, and issued public statements. Visit the official campaign website:

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    In September, we managed to slow down the progress of the main project of the reform that would create a new Electoral Code. In its more than 900 articles, this proposal carried serious risks to party transparency, measures to weaken oversight bodies, and questionable advances for increased representativity.

    Democratic Dialogues 2021

    In order to amplify and enhance the discussions about the ongoing political-electoral reform in Brazil, we resumed, in 2021, the Democratic Dialogues - our series of debates on democracy among organizations within the Pacto's network. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dialogues took place online, with four editions held on our Instagram profile and those of the organizations in the network. The dialogues reached over 7,000 viewers.

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    Transparency in Electoral Reform

    Debate with Ana Claudia Santano, from Transparência Eleitoral Brasil and Nicole Verillo, from Internacional Transparency Brazil.

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    Social Media and Electoral Polls

    With Katia Brembatti, from Abraji, and Chico Cruz, from InternetLab.

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    Understanding Your Vote and Electoral Reform

    With Michelle Ferreti, from Instituto Alziras.

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    What Changes for the 2022 Elections?

    Debate with Fabiana Pinto, from Instituto Marielle Franco, Fabro Steibel from ITS Rio ande Hannah Maruci, from A Tenda das Candidatas.

    Permanent State of Exception Law

    Between March and September 2021, Pacto pela Democracia campaigned against an absolutely anti-democratic draft law that would open up loopholes to criminalize the actions of social movements and provide grounds for the persecution of activists.

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    The Campaign against the Law of the Permanent State of Exception mobilized twelve organizations from Pacto to actively work with the National Congress and prevent this bill from moving forward. This effort included the publication of technical notes and the launch of the platform 'Lutar não é crime' ('Fighting is not a crime'), aiming to pressure lawmakers to vote against the proposal.

    Campaign against Illegal Espionage

    In May 2011, more than 30 organizations engaged to block the federal government from using illegal spying software. The Campaign against Illegal Espionage operated on three fronts: filing a complaint with the Federal Court of Accounts regarding irregularities and illegalities in the contracting of the spying tool; a public action in partnership with members of parliament; and a massive email campaign to pressure the Ministry of Justice and the Federal Court of Accounts to halt the process.

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    Organizations within the Pacto's network also published an open letter urging countries in the international community to implement measures control commercialization and use of surveillance systems. 

    Diário de Ataques [Attacks Diary]

    The monitoring of frequent attacks on the democratic state was one of the strategies adopted by the Pact, based on the perception that identifying and systematizing the threats was a key element for combating them. Throughout the years 2021 and 2022, our executive secretariat mapped threats to democracy through the “Attacks Diary” platform, a website with the aim of creating a historical record of antidemocratic actions primarily undertaken by the Jair Bolsonaro government against institutions, civil society, and opponents.

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    Over the course of two years, 23 serious attacks on democracy were recorded, occurring approximately every 23 days, initiated by Bolsonaro.



    Thousands of people engaged in the Pact's actions to warn against democratic setbacks in the country.

    More than 80🔍

    attacks mapped by the Attacks Diary.

    Over 2.270 💬

    viewers for Democratic Dialogues.

    More than 10 mil🔗

    people engaged in the Brake the Reform campaign.