What is 1988 Constitution

The “Constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil“, “Citizen Constitution” or simply “1988 Constitution” was promulgated on October 5, 1988.

It was the seventh constitution of Brazil since its independence in 1822 and the sixth of the republican period.


What is 1988 Constitution


Congressman Ulysses Guimarães raises a copy of the Constitution on the day of enactment

The document was prepared by the National Constituent Assembly, democratically elected on November 15, 1986, and chaired by Ulysses Guimarães. At the time, the President of the Republic was José Sarney.

The work of the Constituent Assembly developed from February 1987 to September 1988 and marked the process of redemocratization of the country after the military regime.

Main features

Labor rights

The new constitution consolidated several achievements for workers, such as:

  • The 40% FGTS severance allowance on dismissal and unemployment insurance;
  • Holiday bonus and 13th salary for retirees;
  • Weekly journey of 44 hours, when before it was 48 hours;
  • 120-day maternity leave and 5-day paternity leave;
  • Right to strike and freedom of association.

Human rights

In addition, several other achievements have been made in the field of human rights :

  • Ending censorship of the media;
  • Freedom of speech;
  • Children’s and adolescents’ rights;
  • Direct and universal two-round elections;
  • Right to vote for the illiterate;
  • Optional vote for 16 to 18 year olds;
  • The practice of racism has become an unenforceable crime;
  • Prohibition of torture;
  • Gender equality;
  • Fostering female work.

Indigenous Population

The Magna Carta of 1988 determined that the Indians would own the lands they occupied as well as those they traditionally occupied.

It also guarantees the Union the right to legislate on Indians and to ensure the preservation of their customs, languages ​​and traditions.


Likewise, the 1988 Constitution recognized the right of possession to lands occupied by remnants of Quilombos.

Structure of the Federal Constitution

The 1988 Constitution is structured in nine titles, namely:

  • Title I – Fundamental Principles
  • Title II – Fundamental Rights and Guarantees
  • Title III – State Organization
  • Title IV – Organization of Powers
  • Title V – Defense of the State and Institutions
  • Title VI – Taxation and Budget
  • Title VII – Economic and Financial Order
  • Title VIII – Social Order
  • Title IX – General Provisions

The Constitution governs the country’s legal system, establishes rules that regulate and pacify the conflicts of interest of the groups that make up a society.

Changes to the text of the constitution are provided for by law and may be made through constitutional amendment.

With the exception of stone clauses (which cannot be changed), they include:

  • The federal system of the state;
  • The direct, secret, universal and periodic vote;
  • The separation of powers;
  • Individual rights and guarantees.

After 25 years in force, completed on October 5, 2013, the Constitution has already received 75 constitutional amendments.