Breaking the Law Brazilian Presidential Candidates Are in Full Campaign

Presidential candidates Dilma and SerraThere will be general elections in October, in Brazil, but the rules established by judges on the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) are that until the end of June there are no candidates and until the beginning of July no campaigning.

The existence of this electoral make-believe world alongside a real world of candidates campaigning earnestly creates an unusual situation where many things are possible. For example, with all the illegal candidates campaigning illegally, one can clog the dockets with lawsuits against other candidates for campaigning.

The PSDB filed at least six complaints against president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for campaigning for the PT. Two of them actually resulted in fines.

And now the PT has gone to the TSE to complain that the PSDB is placing “negative campaign content” on its website about Dilma Rousseff, the former presidential Chief of Staff who is running for president. Because of the law, Dilma is not the PT candidate, but its “pre candidate.”

The PT has demanded a heavy fine for the PSDB, the maximum allowed of 25,000 reais (US$ 13.9), and the removal of the content at www.gentequemente.org.br (peoplewholie).

Closer Decision on Battisti

In what should be the next-to-last step in what has been a very long decision process regarding Italian guerrilla Cesare Battisti, the Brazilian Supreme Court (“STF”) has formally notified the ministers of Justice and Foreign Relations of its decisions on the case.

There were three decisions in November 2009: first, the Supreme Court ruled that Battisti was not a political refugee, then the court ruled in favor of extraditing him. Finally, the court ruled that the final decision on extradition was president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s to make. Thus, Lula does not have to follow the majority of the court, but could decide to permit Battisti to stay in Brazil, but not as a refugee.

All of the decisions were close ones (5 to 4, although there are eleven justices on the Brazilian Supreme Court two justices did not participate) and controversial, each decision stirring up heated debate.

Battisti was sentenced to life in prison for killing four people in the 1970s when he was a member of a leftist militant group. Some believe he committed political crimes (killing people to make the world a better place). Others see a common criminal who committed common crimes and should be sent back to Italy to jail.

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