Senate Plenary Approves New 2-Year Term for Augusto Aras as Attorney General | Policy

In a secret ballot, the plenary of the Senate approved this Tuesday (24) by 55 votes to 10 and one abstention the reappointment of Augusto Aras to the position of attorney general of the Republic (PGR).

With this, the attorney appointed by President Jair Bolsonaro will have another two-year term at the head of the Federal Public Ministry.

To be reappointed to office, Aras needed the favorable votes of at least 41 of the 81 senators. In 2019, Aras’ approval was given by 68 votes to 10.

Before being approved by the Senate plenary, Aras passed a six-hour hearing at the Constitution and Justice Commission (CCJ). In the collegiate, he received 21 votes in favor and six against.

Among other attributions, the attorney general is responsible for requesting the opening of inquiries to investigate the president of the republic, ministers, deputies and senators. He also has the prerogative to file complaints against holders of privileged jurisdiction.

AUGUSTO ARAS’ SABATIN:

Aras was first appointed to the PGR in 2019 by President Jair Bolsonaro. At the time, his name was not among the three most voted on the triple list drawn up by the National Association of Attorneys of the Republic (ANPR).

In July of this year, Bolsonaro appointed Aras for a new term at the head of the Federal Public Ministry. Once again, the ANPR triple list was ignored by the president — although this has become a tradition, he is under no obligation to nominate anyone on the list.

According to the Constitution, it is up to the Senate to debate and vote on the nominees to head the Public Ministry.

Aras’s CCJ hearing lasted about six hours. To the senators, the prosecutor said

  • not having an alignment with President Jair Bolsonaro;
  • he made indirect criticisms of one of his predecessors in office, former attorney general Rodrigo Janot;
  • claimed not to criminalize politics;
  • he criticized leaks, the Operation Lava Jato task force and the “spectacularization” of inquiries.

Augusto Aras is specialized in the areas of public law and economic law. He is 62 years old. Born in Salvador (BA), on December 4, 1958.

Aras holds a doctorate in constitutional law from the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (2005); Master in Economic Law from the Federal University of Bahia (2000); graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the Catholic University of Salvador (1981). He is also a law professor at the University of Brasília (UnB).

He joined the MPF in 1987 as a public prosecutor. Before heading the PGR, he served in the constitutional, penal, economic crimes and consumer chambers.

It is up to the Attorney General of the Republic to head the Federal Public Ministry. The MPU includes the Federal, Labor, Military, Federal District and Territories Public Ministry.

The Attorney General has the role of representing the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Federal Supreme Court (STF) and, sometimes, at the Superior Court of Justice (STJ). He also performs the role of electoral general attorney.

In the STF, the attorney general has, among other prerogatives, the function of proposing direct actions of unconstitutionality (ADI) and public criminal actions.

It is also up to the attorney general to request the opening of inquiries to investigate the president of the republic, ministers, deputies and senators. He also has the prerogative to file complaints in these cases. The PGR can still create task forces for special investigations, but Aras is critical of the model, especially the one used in Lava Jato.

The Senate still needs to analyze the nomination of former Federal Attorney General André Mendonça for the post of Minister of the Federal Supreme Court.

As with Aras’ nomination, André Mendonça’s name will have to go through a hearing and a vote in the CCJ and in the main plenary of the Senate. There is still no date for this analysis.

The name of André Mendonça, the “terribly evangelical” minister appointed by Jair Bolsonaro, was already facing resistance in the Senate, which increased with the worsening of the crisis between the President of the Republic and ministers of the Supreme Federal Court.

The presentation by Bolsonaro of a request for impeachment against Minister Alexandre de Moraes further complicated the situation in Mendonça.

Government officials heard by G1, however, claim that in the coming days there should be a definition in relation to the former AGU.

Asked about the matter, the president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (DEM-MG), said that it is up to the president of the CCJ, Davi Alcolumbre (DEM-AP), to guide the hearing and voting of the nominee. Alcolumbre, which has held back the nomination’s progress, has avoided making public statements on the matter.

In the Senate session this Tuesday, government senators demanded that Alcolumbre put the nomination on the CCJ agenda.

PL leader Carlos Portinho (RJ) read a note from the PL bench in which he asked for André Mendonça’s hearing “as soon as possible”. Citizenship senators, who are not part of the governing base, also joined the charge.

“The fact that he is an evangelical is not a condition for him to go to the Supreme Court, but it is also not a condition to exclude him from the Supreme Court. Brazil is a secular state. Religious or non-religious, evangelical, Catholic, atheist, spiritist, whoever whatever it is, whether or not he has a religion, if he has the technical conditions, he is able to assume any position in this country,” stated Eliziane Gama (Cidadania-MA).