The Superior Electoral Tribunal of Brazil, the TSE, again fined Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for having campaigned in support of cabinet chief and the Workers’ Party candidate for October’s presidential election, Dilma Rousseff. The first fine equivalent to US$ 3.125 was imposed last March 17 for a similar reason, but this time the penalty is double, equivalent to US$ 6.250 US.
In an attempt to boost Ms Rousseff chances, who trails the opposition main candidate José Serra, governor of the state of São Paulo, Lula has toured Brazil with the candidate inaugurating public works in the framework of the ambitious Growth Acceleration Program, PAC to bolster the country’s limited infrastructure.
In most of these visits the Brazilian president has called on audiences to vote for Ms Rousseff generating the filing of complaints before the TSE.
However Lula da Silva downplayed the significance of sanctions.
“The decision is not definitive. My solicitors are appealing, and I think there will be no consequences because we have not advanced the political campaign”, said Lula in reference to the April and June timetables.
“The fact is that it’s the opposition that is complaining for political reasons, …we are only touring the country to show people what we have done and are doing, as is the duty of all governments that deliver. We can’t be fined for investing in development programs,” underlined the Brazilian president.
Lula also argued that Ms Rousseff is not only cabinet chief but coordinator of the PAC program which justifies the inauguration ceremonies.
“If she worked for the program, if she put her intelligence and talent to better living conditions of Brazilians, why should she stay at home on inauguration day?”
Several unions in the state of Sao Paulo came out in support of President Lula.
“We think the fine is unfair and have decided to launch a solidarity campaign in support of Lula and to collect funds to help pay the fine”, said Antonio Neto one of the union leaders involved in the initiative.