The Brazilian scene – XXII

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By BENÍCIO VIERO SCHMIDT*

Comments on recent events

In Congress, the new electoral legislation is discussed and voted, in pieces. The project by the rapporteur of Deputy Renata Abreu, (Podemos/SP) proposed the end of the open list proportional system, in force since 1945, and its replacement by the District and after 2022 a quasi-return to the mixed district formula, in which half of the House would be elected in single-member districts, the other half being elected by the current proportional system

With the District, the seats would be filled by the parliamentarians with the most votes in each State, requiring, still, a new barrier clause by which the parties should have a minimum of votes in each district.

Another proposition is the supplementary bill (PLP) 112/2021 establishing an electoral code that replaces the fragmented legislation on the matter. The matter is pending in the House, before going to the Senate. The loser in the Federal Chamber (first vote) was the District, however with massive support for party coalitions, which will allow the federation of parties in the next proportional elections.

Other issues involved: (a) electoral polls would require a hit rate from the institute in the last five elections; (b) the supervisory capacity of the Electoral Justice is limited and the accountability obligations on the part of party leaders are reduced; (c) gender quotas do not advance; (d) there is no provision for quotas for blacks in electoral financing; (e) the revocation of mandates by the Electoral Justice is made more difficult and electoral crimes are transformed into civil infractions, such as transporting voters to the ballot box; (f) TSE decisions must be made one year in advance to apply to elections. All these measures, however, still depend on approval in the House and Senate.

Meanwhile, a labor mini-reform is proposed, coupled with emergency benefits against unemployment and support for informal workers. The precariousness of labor relations and the impediment to free access to the Labor Court are the most dramatic characteristics. At a cost of BRL 41 billion, the MP was approved by the Federal Chamber and is sent to the Senate.

The Ministry of Education continues to stand out for its inactivity. In addition to the failure of the calls to ENEM (49% of absentees), the minister makes new bombastic revelations of his primary thought (“the university is not for everyone”). He remains amazed at the breadth of education policies and the magnitude of his ministry. A disaster and a galloping privatist conversion of the criteria that should govern national education. Still within the scope of the MEC, the act of the president of CAPES naming her own student as its director of international cooperation, with an unfinished doctorate in Law at her family's university in the interior of São Paulo. An aberration!

Moreover, with the illustrative arrest of Roberto Jeferson (president of the PTB), the accusations against the president of the republic follow, which go as far as the allegation of witchcraft. Despite this, Banco Santander shelters a consultant from Brasilia who proposes a “coup” against Lula's intentions. An article was also published in Estadão, on August 13, by three large industrialists against the current polarization (Lula x Bolsonaro); however, with strong arguments against a change in the current political framework. Life goes on!

*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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