The federal government exercises control over the central government and is divided into three independent branches: executive, legislative and judicial. Executive power is exercised by the President, advised by a cabinet. Legislative power is vested upon the National Congress, a two-chamber legislature comprising the Federal Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. Judicial power is exercised by the judiciary, consisting of the Supreme Federal Court, the Superior Court of Justice and other Superior Courts, the National Justice Council and the Regional Federal Courts.
The states are autonomous sub-national entities with their own constitutions and governments that, together with the other federal units, form the Federative Republic of Brazil. Currently, Brazil is divided politically and administratively into 27 federal units, being 26 states and one federal district.
The executive power is exercised by a governor elected to a four-year term. The judiciary is exercised by courts of first and second instance addressing the common justice. Each State has a unicameral legislature with deputies who vote state laws. The Constitution of Brazil knows also two elements of direct democracy, stated in Article 14. The legislative assemblies supervise the activities of the Executive power of the states and municipalities.
The municipalities are minor federal units of the Federative Republic of Brazil. Each municipality has an autonomous local government, comprising a mayor, directly elected by the people to a four-year term, and a legislative body, also directly elected by the people.
Due to a mix of proportional voting (the only first-past-the-post elections are for the 1/3 of senate seats every 8 years and for mayors in small and medium-sized cities every 4 years), the lack of election threshold and the cultural aspects of Latin American caudillismo-coronelismo, party politics in Brazil tends to be highly fragmented.