Cross-Border or out‐of‐country Voters? Citizenship and Elections Across the Frontier Between Brazil and Paraguay

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 7:45 PM
Room: Booth 51
Oral Presentation
Elson MENEGAZZO , Institute of Philosophy and the Humanities, University of Campinas, Campinas, Brazil
Brazilians living in Paraguay are the largest immigrant group in that country and the second Brazilian population living abroad. Although Brazilian nationals are allowed to vote from abroad in homeland elections, those residents in Paraguay prefer not to be registered as out-of-country voters in favour to cross the frontier into Brazil to go to the polls on elections days. Furthermore, the Paraguayan residents in Brazil cross the frontier into Paraguay to cast their ballots in Paraguayan elections. In the frontier region, the cross-border ties have a far-reaching impact on the political life among emigrants and their descendants, and it takes a leading role in the construction of a citizenship which merges the local, the emigrant and the extraterritorial dimensions. The paper discusses how the electoral processes blur social categories such as resident and expatriate, analyses the cross-border political ties and the political participation of Brazilian and Paraguayan emigrants in local and national elections of both countries, and then examines the implications of the cross-border and the out-of-country voting in the construction of an extraterritorial citizenship in Brazil and Paraguay.