• Categories
  • Archives

Something Wrong with Brazilian Democracy: Excessive Fraud or Intervention

Brazil's Electronic Ballot BoxThe Brazilian TRE (Regional Electoral Court) strikes again! Last week, a TRE judge ordered the immediate dismissal of São Paulo’s mayor, Gilberto Kassab (DEM), along with the vice mayor and eight members of the city council.

The vice mayor is Alda Marco Antonio (PSDB) and the city council members are: PT councilmen Antônio Donato Madormo, Arselino Roque Tatto, Ítalo Cardoso Araújo, José Américo Ascêncio Dias and Juliana Cardoso; Gilberto Tanos Natalini and José Police Neto of the PSDB, and Marco Aurélio de Almeida Cunha of the DEM.

They are all accused of using illegal financing in the October 2008 election when Kassab was reelected defeating Marta Suplicy (PT) and Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB).

In a finely detailed ruling, judge Aloisio Silveira, pointed out that the amounts involved were more than 30% of the mayor’s total campaign budget and, as such, constituted  “the use of abusive economic power,” an electoral crime in Brazil.

In the past, electoral courts have permitted up to 20% of campaign budgets to consist of what may or may not have been questionable financing. The judge went on to show that the amounts came from prohibited sources. One was an association that was really a front for real estate brokers and another a bank that had a contract with the city; in both cases, campaign contributions were illegal.

Last year, judge Silveira ordered forfeiture of office for 16 members of the city council (also for abusive use of economic power). All of them have appealed Silveira’s rulings and remain in office pending final decisions on their appeals.

An electoral court in São Paulo has already issued a restraining order letting the mayor remain in office. As things stand now, Kassab and the vice mayor remain in office until their appeal is judged by higher courts.

It’s quite possible that this will wind its way all the way to the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), which has the final say on these cases. This court consists of judges from appellate courts and is presided over by a Supreme Court justice. Meanwhile, the city council members have their lawyers scrambling to get appeals filed as well.

Kassab has said that he is not worried about the accusations and that his appeal of the original decision will be victorious. However, Brazilian electoral courts (TREs and the TSE) wield enormous power.

Last year seven lawsuits demanding forfeiture of office for governors elected in October 2006 reached the TSE. So far, five decisions have been handed down. In two cases, Luiz Henrique da Silveira (PMDB-SC) and Waldez Góes (PT-AP), the TSE decision was in favor of the sitting governors.

In three cases, the TSE ruled to cashier the governors and vice governors with the result that the losers in the 2006 elections, often bitter rivals, took office:  in Paraíba, Cássio Cunha Lima (PSDB), in Maranhão, Jackson Lago (PDT), and in Tocantins, Marcelo Miranda (PMDB).

This situation is so uncanny that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Gilmar Mendes, recently expressed concern: “There seems to be a serious flaw in Brazilian democracy where one third of the elections for governor may have been fraudulent, or there is an excess of litigation in these cases with a disproportional intervention in the electoral system. Either way, there certainly seems to be some sort of misbalance when you have seven governors facing forfeiture of office.”

ABr

Tags:

  • Show Comments (3)

  • João da Silva

    A good article with a nice title and suggestive picture.;-)

  • Lloyd Cata

    Tip of the iceberg
    Yes, Capnamerca, as I have been trying to explain here for some years; this is just the beginning of the ‘destabilization’ that is the ‘real’ threat to Brazil. If the ‘crisis of confidence’ across the political spectrum is allowed to escalate, then the ‘pretext’ for the return to ‘military rule’ is consolidated among the people, and ‘external forces’.

    With the coming national elections, this situation of election fraud is quite serious for Brazilian democracy.

    I’m sure our resident Fascist blogger, Mr. Ricardo Amaral, will be delighted by this news, since it is his view that ‘these people’ are not competent to govern themselves.

  • Capnamerca

    It’s just the
    Tip of the iceberg

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Ads

You May Also Like

Brazil’s Forum Urges Prompt Pardon of All 3rd World Foreign Debts

One of the chief examples of political interaction using the World Social Forum process ...

Spain’s Repsol-YPF Joins Petrobras to Explore Offshore Oil in Brazil

Spain’s Repsol-YPF and Petrobras have jointly begun offshore production in Brazil with the country’s ...

Brazil to Get 5% Biofuel in Its Diesel Three Years Earlier

The Brazilian government intends to anticipate in three years – from 2013 to 2010 ...

Isabela Hasselblad, model from Rocinha

The Catwalk Dreams of Brazil’s Have-Nots

On a cool Saturday morning in Rio de Janeiro,  Zé Luiz Summer, a 34-year-old ...

Brazil’s Lula Calls Blair and Again Proposes Summit of G-8 and G-20

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, on Tuesday, January 31, telephoned the Prime ...

Ecuador’s Ousted Leader Starts Exile in Brazil

Ecuador’s ousted President, Lucio Gutiérrez, is already in Brazil where he arrived this afternoon ...

Brazil Gets Cutting-Edge Wine Lab in Semi-Arid Region

The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) for the Semi Arid region, in the city ...

Brazilian Papaya Shampoo a Hit Among Arab Kids

Brazilian cosmetics company Nazca, apart from having won the Arab women with products for ...

Brazilians Want Lula to Assert Leadership in the Face of Chavez at Summit

An agenda with several controversial issues awaits Mercosur summit this week in Rio do ...

Brazil’s Chansonnier par Excellence

When it comes to composing song tunes, Marcio Proença is a veteran. His musical ...