Election Campaign Has Started in Brazil. Even Most Corrupt Are Again Candidates

Paulo Salim Maluf The political season is on in Brazil. Starting Tuesday, is now legal to campaign for elective office. Political parties are free to have rallies and use sound cars. But Brazilian election rules are rigid, strict and detailed so there are norms regarding the times and places campaigning can take place.

Voters also have to be careful because on the 25th of this month they must have their voting papers in order. That will be necessary because in three months, on October 3, Brazilians will have to vote (the vote is mandatory) for president, governors, senators and state and federal deputies. If a runoff election is necessary for president it will take place on October 31st.

There are also a series of deadlines this month for parties and candidates. At the same time, electoral judges will be notifying people who will work at polling places on election day.

And, finally, the TSE, the Federal Election Board, will request time on radio and television (up to ten minutes daily) for Election Board communications, instructions and information for voters.

Seven Rejected

On Monday, the last day candidates could register their candidacies, the Chief Justice of the Federal Electoral Board (Tribunal Superior Eleitoral – TSE), Richard Lewandowski, rejected seven requests for injunctions that would have permitted politicians to run for office who had their registration refused by regional electoral boards (TREs) based on the Ficha Limpa (Clean Criminal Record) law that makes convicted politicians ineligible to run for elections.

Lewandowski ruled that the candidates did not present plausible juridical arguments to justify their registration and suspend their ineligibility.

Candidates from Minas Gerais, Paraná and the Federal District were denied. Among them, Christianno Araújo (PTB), who wanted to run for reelection to the Legislative Chamber in Brasília. He was found guilty of abuse of economic power in 2006.

The other would-be candidates were denied registration due to other electoral crimes, such as spending beyond limits and irregular campaign advertising, all of which is tightly controlled by TREs and the TSE.

However, on the other hand, some Brazilian politicians who are no strangers to corruption charges and convictions did manage to get registered as candidates at regional election board offices.

Among them: Jackson Lago (PDT) who was removed from the governorship of Maranhão in April 2009, Joaquim Roriz (now PSC) who had to resign from the Senate to avoid expulsion in 2007, and Paulo Maluf (now PP) who was once called one of the most corrupted politicians in the world by The Economist.

It is possible that the TSE may revoke their registrations. But it is also possible that the Supreme Court will rule the Ficha Limpa law unconstitutional.

ABr

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