The Brazilian Scene – XXVI

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By BENÍCIO VIERO SCHMIDT*

Considerations on the environment, legislative progress on institutions and federal government absenteeism

The environmental question continues to center the attention of the whole world, on the eve of the Glasgow conference on climate options, to be held from the 31st of this month. Faced with the lack of appetite and disorganization of the federal government, the Brazilian governors, in partnership with the theme, go to Scotland led by the governor of Espírito Santo, in delegation with their own propositions in a manifestation of interest and militancy. The reinvigorated green axis in post-electoral Germany, in particular, as well as the sandstorms in Mato Grosso do Sul, São Paulo and Minas Gerais act as a warning and trigger point for new initiatives at the subnational level. Also noteworthy was the effect of environmentalist pressures in the oil field auction (October 7), when the government sold only 5 of the 92 areas offered. These are important steps for the medium and long term. In the immediate picture, we continue with the chatter of the federal authorities.

The demonstrations on October 2 indicate difficulties in social mobilization or fear of conflicts with opposing forces, especially caused by Bolsonaristas and security forces under the influence of the current armaments. Civic fatigue, it is also possible to be diagnosed; which does not manage to influence the optimistic prognoses of the left, particularly Lula. Opinion polls are configuring Lula's favoritism over the other candidates; as well as the traces of growing disapproval of the current federal government.

The broad political reform was made unfeasible by the deadlines necessary for the sanction (one year before the next elections). As a result of the measures approved by Congress, the double counting of votes for women and blacks, for the purposes of participation in the Electoral Fund by the parties proposing these candidacies; as well as the consecration of party federations, which should last for the legislature itself. A guarantee of survival for small political parties, which will still have to meet complex requirements regarding the electoral quotient to maintain their existence.

In the context of leaking the financial secrets of the highest authorities of the Brazilian financial system, president of the Central Bank and Minister of Economy in the “Pandora Papers”, about tax havens, we reached an inflation of 10,25% in the year, the level of the time of the Real plan. This is without the highlights of indexes pertaining to fuels and certain essential foods, such as animal proteins. The water crisis and the increase in the prices of inputs for agriculture, especially from China in an energy crisis, should overwhelm inflation indices in the coming months. Being good for the reduction of public expenses, in real values, inflation affects the pockets of all citizens; this is especially true among informal workers, who have their income reduced by the retraction of services and intermittent jobs that are affected by rising costs. Pressure on unemployment, which reaches 14,5 million people and an increase in the level of discouragement in the workforce. Bolsonaro helps in the dissemination of future disasters, without any referral of necessary measures to the problem. Boldness and governmental absenteeism.

Recent decisions by the National Congress affect the Improbity Law of 1992, bringing, among other changes, a general relaxation in the forwarding of actions in defense of public property by agents and granting the monopoly of the initiative to the Public Ministry, to the detriment of the General Advocacy of the Union, for example., among other bodies.

In the same direction, the Chamber of Deputies is preparing to vote on a PEC that changes the composition of the National Council of the Public Ministry (CNMP) and expands possibilities for political interference, giving Congress the power to appoint more members to the body. In the same direction as the changes on impropriety, it is an advance on the mechanisms of public control by professional politicians. The CNMP is responsible for the administrative, financial and disciplinary supervision of the Public Ministry and its members. In debate, with a decision postponed for the next few weeks, it should generate a lot of controversy.

*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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