The Brazilian Scene – XXIX

Image: Laura Tancredi


Commentary on recent events

The STF, based on an injunction issued by Minister Rosa Weber, later confirmed by the plenary (8 x 2), demanded that Congress fully publicize those responsible for “the rapporteur's amendments, individual and bench amendments.

Congress leaders, Athila Lira and Rodrigo Pacheco, refuse to fully comply with the Judiciary's decision, citing operational reasons. A tremendous maneuver, covering up suspicious interests in the designation of municipalities, orders for works and the purchase of overpriced machinery. In some cases, already clarified by the press, particularist operations benefiting the electoral interests of family members of congressmen are evident, as exemplified by the amendments favoring the clan of Lira in Alagoas, president of the Chamber of Deputies.

Despite the wear and tear, the Chamber of Deputies votes in committee to abandon the ceiling of 75 to 70 years for superior court judges; obviously in retaliation to the STF, benefiting the President of the Republic, who would appoint two more ministers to the STF and another 23 from higher courts, by December 2022. It remains to be seen whether the threat will pass through the plenary of the Chamber and subsequently be sent to the Senate. But it is unequivocally a threat to the stability of the higher courts, including the TCU (Tribunal de Contas da União), a body linked to the Federal Senate. This indicates that the government and its administrative machinery are seeking to exercise a casuistry that will allow greater control of the judiciary bodies. The example of Donald Trump, appointing new ministers and federal judges of an ultraconservative nature in the United States during his administration, bears fruit in Brazil.

Although there is wear and tear, given the criteria of morality and publicity in public management, Rodrigo Pacheco, president of the Senate, participates in ephemeris that launch him as a candidate for the presidency of the republic, under the aegis of an extreme moralism and a verbose defense of democratic coexistence , "in a country torn apart by ordium"!

Auxílio Brasil, replacing and in addition to Bolsa Família, was approved by the Federal Chamber (344 x 0), with the possibility of a substantial increase in expenses of another nature, sheltered by the breaking tax ceiling. A lack of control of finances is expected, with a real default on most precatories and accumulation of official debts until 2033. The year 2022 will be contemplated by similar operations of changes in the headings of social expenses, in view of the elections. A dramatic picture, which will have permanent effects on public finances from now on.

Opinion polls on the presidential elections continue in the direction already observed for months: Lula and Bolsonaro are leading the list, now with the sudden appearance of Sergio Moro (Podemos) in third place. Manifestations and affiliations to Álvaro Dias' party, including prominent military personnel in the tavern, indicate possibilities for growth of this candidacy. Moro has spoken out, supported by the conservative and recessionist ideas of Afonso Celso Pastore (former Central Bank), with repairs to the current economic and fiscal policy; however, without presenting real alternatives. Everything seems to point to Moro being a more “civilized” version of Bolsonaro. Just it.

The other party associations continue to test the opinion market; as did the DEM (future União Brasil) with the launch of former minister Luiz Mandetta and also the MDB with the name of Simone Tebet. These are releases with intentions of composing with more vigorous political forces.

The case outside the curve is the presence of Geraldo Alckmim – leaving the PSDB and going to the PSD or PSB – as cousin inter peers, open to all and any electoral composition It is the very indication of the ideological and political weakness of the national party system.

Meanwhile, we await the vote on the toucan preview which, after the fiasco of the first attempt with the electronic ballot boxes, should give victory to João Doria, supported by Arthur Virgílio. The PSDB leaves the fray weakened and will probably fuel many defections between now and 2022.

National political life awaits, with anxiety, the most effective pronouncement of the party forces in the face of the most dramatic issues of reality, such as inflation and unemployment. In this sense, Lula's consecrating trip abroad had the gift of awakening in public opinion, once again, the aspiration to reintegrate Brazil into the world's decision-making sphere. But it is still little in the face of the decay of the democratic and popular system among us.

*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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