In a move that opens the way for the creation of a Supranational Justice Tribunal, Mercosur representatives reached this week in Asuncion, Paraguay, a political agreement, which also establishes proportional representation in the Mercosur parliament.
The demand for a supranational Justice Tribunal has been a long standing demand from Mercosur junior members mainly Paraguay, and Uruguay, while proportional representation has been Brazil and Argentina's target to ensure the regional parliament is clearly under their control.
Although the agreement was hailed as "historic" by Paraguayan lawmakers who sponsored the deal, analysts believe it only confirms the Argentina-Brazil "strategic alliance" dominance of the regional trade block.
Furthermore the supranational tribunal will demand a constitutional review since the Brazilian constitution does not recognize the concept of "supranational." If this finally occurs it's hard to see Brazil or Argentina abiding by a regional tribunal that is expected to rule country actions.
The other part of the political deal "for the consolidation of Mercosur" means the regional parliament will apply the proportional representation criteria, such as envisaged in the Mercosur Parliament Protocol, although gradually and with less members than those wished by Brazil.
Proportional representation is based on the population of each country; Brazil has a population of 180 million; Argentina, 40 million; Paraguay, 7 million and Uruguay 3.5 million.
Apparently at the beginning of negotiations Brazil's target was 140 benches in Parlasur, which was rejected point blank by the rest of Mercosur country members. Finally it was agreed that Brazil would have 75 elected members, to be incorporated gradually.
The agreement should become effective in 2010 with 75 for Brazil and 43 for Argentina, while Uruguay and Paraguay would keep the original 18 assigned to each of the four country members when the parliament was first launched.
However in this first stage the numbers agreed were 36 for Brazil, 26 for Argentina and 18 and 18.
Brazilian senator Aloizio Mercadante from the ruling Workers Party of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said that the decision to reduce the number of benches representing Brazil and Argentina "was voluntary and a homage to the integration of Mercosur peoples."