Brazilian Congress Ponders About Abolishing Secret Vote

The president of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies, Aldo Rebelo (Partido Comunista do Brasil, São Paulo), has met with party leaders to discuss a constitutional amendment (PEC 349/01) that puts an end to the secret vote during floor votes in the Lower House.

According to the Brazilian Constitution, the voting is secret in the Chamber of Deputies in dealing with the expulsion of members, presidential vetoes and the election of chamber officials.

This discussion is taking place following a public uproar after the absolution (by secret vote) of two deputies (Professor Luizinho (PT, São Paulo) and Roberto Brandt (PFL, Minas Gerais)) in a recent expulsion case.

Rebelo has said publicly that he believes the secret vote in Congress does serve a purpose, such as shielding members from pressure, sometimes from the government itself in the case of presidential vetoes. He said he intends to listen to the opinions of other leaders on the issue.

The proposed constitutional amendment eliminating the secret vote has been in Congress since May 9, 2001, and was authored by deputy Luiz Antonio Fleury (PTB, São Paulo).

It was approved by the Constitution and Justice Commission in December 2004, which means that it could go to an immediate vote on the floor at any time.

Agência Brasil

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