Fines & Rejections Are Not Preventing Brazilian Candidates to Forge Ahead

Brazilian electronic ballot boxBrazil’s Federal Election Commission (Tribunal Superior Eleitoral –  TSE) reports that it has rejected registration requests for a total of 301 candidates in the state of São Paulo. Out of that total, 187 are candidates for the state assembly, 113 are candidates for the national Chamber of Deputies and one is a candidate for the Senate.

According to the TSE, it received registration requests from a total of 1,847 candidates for state deputy, 1,243 who are running for the national Chamber of Deputies and 16 for the Senate. The TSE also had nine candidates register to run for governor of the state of São Paulo.

It turns out that the vast majority of the rejections, which are formally made by election court attorneys (Procuradoria Regional Eleitoral  PRE), were because of varying problems with documentation. According to the PRE, a total of 281 candidates did not present the proper documents. And only 15 candidates were rejected because of criminal convictions; that is, the Ficha Limpa law.

When a would-be candidate is notified that his registration request has been rejected, he has seven days to appeal, seven days including Saturdays and Sundays, because during the election period election commissions are open seven days a week.

The election commissions have a deadline to judge all such appeals: August 19. The catch is that the system permits further motions and appeals. The Ficha Limpa cases, for example, although only a few, will probably be decided in the Supreme Court.

Dilma Fined Again

The TSE fined presidential candidate, Dilma Rousseff, two more times on Tuesday, July 20. She has now been fined six times for a total of 31,000 reais (US$ 17.600).

The first of the latest fines, for 5,000 reais (US$ 2,847), was for using free time on radio and TV that was supposed to be a political party commercial to promote her as a presidential candidate.

The second fine, also for 5,000 reais, was for commercials on radios in the state of Amazonas in June, before campaigning was legal, “…which called [Dilma] by name and said she was responsible for public policy and spending in the state.”

In both cases, the lawsuits that were filed calling for the fines were brought by election attorneys (Ministério Público Eleitoral), rather than other political parties.

There is a good reason for that. All Brazilian political parties live in glass houses  and prefer to leave the enforcement of the strict, rigid and detailed election campaign rules to election commission authorities.

Besides, a recent survey found that only 4% of fines are paid anyway – the system permits endless delays, motions and appeals.

On the other hand, president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has become so irritated with one election attorney, Sandra Cureau (“vice-procuradora-geral eleitoral), who has fined him repeatedly and called for the TSE to examine the use of the federal government in favor of Dilma, that thinly-veiled negative references to her have become commonplace in his recent speeches.

ABr

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