A survey carried out by civil society organizations reveals that almost half of the states in the Legal Amazon do not have black people as parliamentarians, a scenario that is a direct effect of the lack of investment in female candidates who represent these populations.
The analysis of the 2018 elections shows that, among the nine states that make up the region, seven had more resources for competitors who declared themselves white or white. Although more than half of the population declares themselves black or brown.
The most significant difference was observed in Mato Grosso, where the financing of brown candidates represented only 16% of the total white ones. In Amapá and Maranhão, only about a third of the investments were destined to black and brown candidates.
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Pará, Rondônia and Tocantins had less unequal distribution of funds for campaigns, but only in Acre and Roraima was the allocation of money greater to these groups.
As a result, the result of the elections is also far from representing the reality of the region. In five of the nine states, white and white lawmakers hold more than 50% of the seats. In Mato Grosso, this index reaches 79%. In Maranhão (69%), Amapá (63%), Amazonas (63%) and Pará (54%) it also means more than half.
Only in Acre and Roraima non-white representatives are a majority in the legislative assemblies. In Rondônia and Tocantins black and brown people represent exactly 50% of the parliamentary body elected in 2018.
The chasm widens for self-declared black candidacies. In four states, the proportion of resources destined for competing with these groups was below 10%, they are Maranhão (1%), Pará (3%), Rondônia (7%) and Tocantins (9%).
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In no state are more than 10% of seats occupied by black people. Four of them did not elect representatives of this group: Acre, Amazonas, Mato Grosso and Roraima.
The survey was carried out by the Amazon Geopolitical Studies Laboratory (LEGAL,) in partnership with the Climate and Society Institute, using the database of the Superior Electoral Court and Regional Electoral Courts of the Legal Amazon states, in November 2021.
Political scientist Leonildes Nazar, coordinator of the Amazon Initiative for the Communication and Engagement Portfolio of the Instituto Clima e Sociedade, says that it is essential to strengthen representation as a “non-negotiable right”.
“It must be ensured that our electoral-party system overcomes the historical and profound racial and gender inequality in order to give an account and meaning to the multiple realities that permeate the lives of Amazonians, and to avoid perpetuating the situation of under-representation” , it points out.
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The reality exposed by the study, in the view of historian Douglas Belchior, “reinforces what we feel daily, on the skin, within party institutions”. Co-founder of Uneafro Brasil and the Black Coalition for Rights, he warns that political legends repeat the racist structure of society
“There is no black movement party in Brazil and the collective of parties reproduces racist practices. We, the black movement, organize ourselves to pressure these structures and make their leaders commit to the black movement’s agenda”, he concludes.
Edition: Vinícius Segalla