Brazilian House Goes to the Supreme Against Electoral Rule

The Brazilian Chamber of Deputies intends to appeal to the Federal Supreme Court (STF) against the maintenance of piggybacking ("verticalização") in this year’s elections.

The announcement was made by the president of the Chamber, Aldo Rebelo (Partido Comunista do Brasil – São Paulo), who claims that "the Federal Elections Court [TSE] is not a constitutional tribunal. From this point of view, the court overstepped its jurisdiction and duties."

On Friday, March 3, by a vote of 5-2, the TSE upheld the electoral rules for piggybacking in party coalitions. According to the rule instated for the 2002 elections, parties allied in the presidential race are obliged to maintain the same alliances in state contests.

Rebelo defended the promulgation of the constitutional amendment bill (PEC – Proposta de Emenda à Constituição – Constitutional Amendment Proposal – 548/02), which abolishes the piggybacking requirement for this year’s elections.

The PEC was approved by the Senate and the Chamber and is awaiting promulgation by the presiding bodies of both houses in order to be incorporated into the Constitution.

"I will call for its promulgation together with the president of the Senate," he declared.

In a meeting, Tuesday, March 7, with the president of the Chamber and party leaders, the president of the Senate, Renan Calheiros (Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro -Alagoas), is expected to set a date for the promulgation of the PEC.

Rebelo argues that the TSE’s decision to require piggybacking in party coalitions also occurred in an election year. The resolution was pronounced by the court in 2002 and was valid for that year’s elections.

"I am certain of the facts indicating the existence of a PEC overthrowing the principle of piggybacking, which was decreed into existence in an election year by the TSE," he commented.

He went on to say that, if there is a PEC that has been approved, it will take effect as soon as it is promulgated.

For the president of the Chamber, the authority of each branch should be respected: "I am not talking about party balance or electoral balance. I am talking about the authority of each one of the branches. The legislative branch has the right to vote and amend the Constitution."

Agência Brasil

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