THE Chamber of Deputies rejected today quarantine for judges, prosecutors, police and military to compete in elections. The rapporteur of the project of Electoral Code, Deputy Margarete Coelho (PP-PI), proposed that they would have to leave office five years before the elections to be able to stand as candidates, but amendments were approved to lift the restriction.
With the amendments, the deadline for mismatching all positions will be six months before the election (in April, therefore). Today there are different dates, between six and four months, depending on the position. To be effective in the 2022 election, the Code still needs to be approved by the Federal Senate and sanctioned by President Jair Bolsonaro by October 2nd.
Parties like PROS, PSC, PTB, PSL and PSDB tried to reverse the restrictions. “The idea is to protect those who are day-to-day making serious decisions and who for this would be punished, would be prevented from participating in public life, from running for candidates, simply because they carry out important functions for the country”, said the PSL leader, Major Deputy Vítor Hugo (GO).
Deputy Paulo Teixeira (PT-SP) stated that careers typical of the State should have longer quarantines and that the party would even like to expand the list. “The police, members of the Public Ministry, judges and the military must comply with a quarantine, considering that they cannot suffer these momentary influences from politics,” he said.
There were, however, differences in opposition to the Bolsonaro government. The Psol, for example, released the bench, but deputy Fernanda Melchionna (RS) argued that police officers are also workers and cannot have restricted political rights, which is why she voted against.
The first amendments were eventually rejected, but when the PSL proposed the suppression of the articles, it was the parties in favor of quarantine that needed the favorable vote of 257 of the 513 deputies, as it was a complementary law. The scoreboard registered three fewer votes than necessary, 254 to 170, and the rule was rejected for judges and prosecutors in the Public Ministry. After that, the parties understood that the restriction should fall to all categories.
“The MDB defends quarantine with conviction. However, we have to take, above all, the spirit of Justice. We were recently defeated in the highlight that referred to judges and prosecutors, and now this highlight deals exclusively with the military career. Following this spirit, we guide not only to maintain the coherence of the text”, said the leader of the MDB, Isnaldo Bulhões (AL).
Deputies also approved an amendment by the PSB so that votes given to indigenous candidates for the Chamber of Deputies count double for the purpose of distributing the party fund. This “bonus” had already been adopted for women and black candidates under the Code as a way to encourage parties to invest in these segments.
After the vote, the president of the Chamber, Arthur Lira (PP-AL), informed the plenary that the conclusion of the Electoral Code will take place next week. The analysis of 16 amendments to the project is still lacking.
Basic text of the Electoral Code
Earlier, the Chamber approved today, by 378 votes to 80, the basic text of the Electoral Code, which unifies the laws on the functioning of elections, parties and the electoral justice. The project promotes dozens of changes, such as restricting electoral polls, making the Clean Sheet Law and reduces penalties on political parties.
Deputy Adriana Ventura (Novo-SP) criticized the conduct of the project. “There was no debate with specialists after the presentation of the report, there was no public debate, there was no vote in a special commission”, he said. The reporter argued that she held hundreds of discussions to adjust the project and that the text adapts the rules to the current situation in the country, with rules, for example, to combat false news and box two.
As soon as it was approved, the text, with 898 articles, has already been modified. PT submitted an application for delete the article that created a window for mandated deputies and councilors to switch parties every two years. Today, the change is allowed every four years, in March, for the reelection dispute.
At first, deputies of other acronyms said that the party’s advisors were wrong, but deputy Paulo Teixeira read the article in plenary and showed that a window for exchange was created every two years. The acronyms, then, defended that this would harm the party life – it would be enough to run a candidate to be able to change parties – and defended the rejection of the article, excluded from the text by 304 votes to 138.
The change, however, ended the window for changing parties, which will affect the deputies themselves in 2022. Acronyms such as PSL and PTB, with a large number of people interested in joining other subtitles due to conflicts with the party leadership, voted against the application, but were defeated. In the PSL, more than half of the federal caucus is made up of allies of President Jair Bolsonaro who want to accompany him in a new party.
The rapporteur also modified the project minutes before the vote, with the acceptance of five amendments.
The Chamber approved a provision by which politicians who renounce their mandate to escape impeachment proceedings will be ineligible for the remainder of their term and for the next eight years. The rule already exists today and was included in the draft Electoral Code that brings together all the laws relating to elections and the functioning of parties.
Congresswoman Margarete Coelho defended that leaving the mandate is a legitimate act and that it does not extinguish criminal and civil proceedings to which the politician is responding in court. “The resignation in itself, being considered an intentional act or liable to attract against itself, the capital punishment of ineligibility, we understand that there is an excess”, he said.
The text determines that the president, governors, mayors and parliamentarians who resign after offering representation capable of authorizing the opening of disciplinary proceedings will be ineligible. The rule was created by the Clean Sheet Law after former deputies such as Valdemar Costa Neto, president of the PL and arrested in the Mensalão, resigned to escape impeachment (which would leave them ineligible) and run for office in the next election.
The PSB presented an amendment to maintain the restriction in the electoral legislation. “Just to mention an example of a totally absurd situation, a congressman who is being tried for breach of decorum, when he resigns, the process loses its object. It could be a day before the process. If he is elected, he cannot be the target of a new representation in the Ethics Council”, said deputy Elias Vaz (PSB-GO).
The amendment divided the parties and ended up being approved with the exact number of votes needed: 257 in favor of 179 (since it is a complementary law, it is necessary to have the support of the absolute majority of deputies, exactly 257 votes).
PSL, PT, PSD, PSDB, PSB, PDT, Pode, Psol, Novo, Citizenship and Rede were in favor of ineligibility. The opponents were PL, PP, MDB, Republicans, Solidarity and PCdoB.
— Photo: Cleia Viana/Chamber of Representatives