Brazil’s scandal-plagued political class voted on Wednesday to set up a 1.7 billion reais ($542 million) fund with taxpayer money to finance election campaigns, making up for a dearth of private funding ahead of next year’s general election. A ban on corporate donations coupled with the drying up of under-the-table contributions and kickbacks in the wake of the country’s biggest corruption scandal have left lawmakers struggling to raise campaign funding. The lower house of Congress approved a bill that had passed the Senate and will take funds from pork barrel appropriations and government payments to buy TV and radio time for parties.
The fund was meant to be part of improvements to Brazil’s discredited political system to reduce a proliferation of parties that has made it hard to govern Latin America’s largest nation without unwieldy coalitions based on self-interest.
The Senate unanimously approved on Tuesday a constitutional amendment that limits coalitions to parties with similar platforms, but it will not go into effect until the 2022 elections.