The Brazilian scene – XIX

Image: Lucas de Jesus Ferreira
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By BENÍCIO VIERO SCHMIDT*

Comments on recent events

In the current mid-year recess of the National Congress, the apparent quietude continues to be marked by cleavages between antagonistic forces, especially on the possibility of printed vote and the adoption ofdistrict” as a substitute for the proportional system in legislative elections. arising subtle dissensions among all political forces.

Leading cadres of the political system threaten their party leaders with the exchange of shirts, as is the case of Rodrigo Pacheco, who insinuates himself to the PSD, while still in the DEM; the vice-president of the Federal Chamber (Marcelo Ramos, PL/AM) opens the possibility of forwarding the impeachment of Bolsonaro; the MDB stirs up the news with the allusion to the name of senator Simone Tebet as its candidate for the “third way”, and so on.

To break the monotony of Bolsonaro's preposterous daily statements in his playpen, the federal government announces a change of ministers and the recreation of the Ministry of Labor, with another occasional name, alluding to employment", in a country with more than 14 million unemployed and another bit of dismay.

In the changes, the loss of relative power of Paulo Guedes is evident, who witnesses, finally, the dismemberment of his superministry of the Economy.

President Bolsonaro nominated the current attorney general of the republic (PGR) for a new 2-year term in office; indication published in the Official Gazette of the Union on July 21st. Indication that does not have the support of many senators, led by David Alcolhumbre. The fact alludes to the possibility of dissent at the time of voting in the Federal Senate, both in the Constitution and Justice Commission (CCJ) and in plenary. The reappointment requires a minimum of 41 favorable votes It is the second time that Bolsonaro ignores the triple list provided by the National Association of Attorneys of the Republic (Luiza Frischeisen, Mario Bonsaglia and Nicolao Dino), breaking tradition started in 2003 by President Lula.

PEC-125, which has deputy Renata Abreu as rapporteur, is establishing conviction and forging a majority with the deputies; and certainly favoritism in the Federal Senate. It is the adoption ofdistrict” in the legislative elections, replacing the current proportional system.

In this new system, to be adopted by the October 2 deadline – one year before the 2022 elections – the most voted, regardless of party and electoral quotient, are the winners of the elections. The measure is seen as an intermediate step towards the adoption of the mixed district system (half of those chosen by majority vote and half by the proportional system) that would be adopted from the 2026 elections.

The measure, once approved in the form of a constitutional amendment, diminishes the power of the parties and their leaders, enshrining the mechanism of attracting celebrities for electoral competition. An easier and cheaper way to trigger campaigns for legislative elections; precisely from the facts consecrated by the mass society. A setback in the party sphere and the necessary clarification of ideological cleavages, which will disappear in the campaigns.

Finally, the Minister of Defense's indirect statement to the President of the National Congress on the printed vote, necessarily present in next year's elections, should be highlighted. Authorities reacted and the printed vote provoked new demonstrations by most political parties, reiterating the reliability of electronic voting machines. Yet another sensitive attrition by the military vis-à-vis public opinion and the world of professional politicians.

*Benicio Viero Schmidt is a retired professor of sociology at UnB and a consultant for Empower Consult. Author, among other books, of The State and urban policy in Brazil (LP&M).

 

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