Chamber accelerates electoral mini-reform with relaxation of rules

Chamber accelerates electoral mini-reform with relaxation of rules

Deputies approved, this Wednesday (13), the urgency and basic text of the bill that deals with the mini-electoral reform. The agility in the processing represents a setback for the electoral law, and has provoked criticism among civil society and entities that work in the area. The basic text passed the Chamber of Deputies with 367 votes in favor, 86 against and one abstention. The highlights, which could change the measure, will be analyzed this Thursday (14).

After a quick process – which began at the end of August, and lasted just over two weeks – the proposals of the Working Group that debated changes for the 2024 Municipal Elections have seen little progress and much criticism. The rapporteur, deputy Rubens Pereira Júnior (PT-MA), has repeated that “only specific changes” would be made and argued that the legislation should be modernized. But in practice, this is not what happened.

According to the program director at Transparência Brasil, Marina Atoji, the mini-electoral reform imposes serious setbacks to the transparency of campaign financing and spending, such as the elimination of partial accountability before elections. “Voters will not know relevant information to choose who they will vote for, how each candidate paid for their campaign and how they spent their resources”, she warns.

In Transparência Brasil’s assessment, there are other points in the project that open major loopholes for parties to circumvent minimum spending rules on women’s candidacies, weakening efforts to promote equality in party politics.

The legal director of the Diretório Nacional do Novo, Carolina Sponza, classifies the mini-electoral reform as “totally bad”, but draws attention to two points, such as the one dealing with the distribution of vacancies.

“Today the so-called 80/20 model is in force where well-voted candidates from parties that failed to reach the electoral quotient can still have their place guaranteed, as they could enter with votes that add up to 20% of the quotient, assuming that the party achieves at least 80 %. The reform provides for the 100/10 model, that is, it favors larger parties and candidates with fewer votes”.

This, according to her, in addition to harming smaller parties and new candidates, goes against the democratic logic of electing whoever got the most votes at the polls.

Another point of concern, according to the director of Novo, is that the text of the Complementary Bill for the mini-reform deals with the need for intent for ineligibility, that is, free and conscious will to commit the action in bad faith. According to the lawyer, the change had already been made to the improbity law, and the interpretation was recently applied, including in the case of former president Dilma’s tax cycles. “The mini-reform therefore reaffirms this setback in the fight against corruption in the country”, she criticizes.

The mini-electoral reform needs to be approved in the plenary of the Chamber, then pass through the Federal Senate and be published in the Official Gazette of the Union by October 5th of this year so that it is still valid in the 2024 elections.

Experts evaluate points of the mini-reform

One of the points that advanced in the text of the mini-electoral reform, in the assessment of lawyer Bianca Gonçalves e Silva, is that which expands the list of cases that will be covered by the crime of political violence against women. According to her, it can be considered a timid advance in legislation. Progressive sectors of society consider the text bad for putting the word “women” in place of gender.

In other aspects that also deal with the issue of gender and race, the lawyer assesses that the text reported by deputy Rubens Pereira Júnior impacts female representation in politics. Previously, there was a requirement for 30% of women’s candidacies for each party that was part of a federation, and now this percentage started to be charged to the entire federation. In other words, according to the new rule, a party from the same federation does not necessarily need to present a female candidate.

Another critical point would be the limitation on the transfer of resources to 20% for black people, which was previously proportional to the number of candidacies from black people and women.

Electoral law specialist Vitor Silva de Araújo criticizes the reduction of the period for which a politician can become ineligible when he loses his mandate, basically due to a breach of parliamentary decorum. In these cases, the current legislation establishes that the politician would be ineligible until the end of the mandate and for the subsequent 8 years, but the mini-reform establishes ineligibility only at 8 years since the loss of the mandate.

In addition to these issues, the expert cites the provision that only those who have already been impeached for abuse of power become ineligible if the behavior is considered “serious”. “With this, all politicians convicted of abuse of power will be able to run for office, claiming that the acts committed were not serious and that they are not ineligible”, he criticizes.

Still in Vitor Silva’s opinion, the mini-reform brings a reprisal to the actions of the Electoral Court. This is because to assess whether an individual committed an intentional act of administrative improbity with illicit enrichment, the Electoral Court analyzes the Court of Justice’s sentencing decision as a whole, and not just the final part of the decision. But the text restricts this action, expressly providing that ineligibility can only apply when the Court of Justice makes this clear “in the operative part of the decision”.

Amnesty PEC: entities deliver letter warning of risks to the presidents of the Chamber and Senate

In addition to the urgency of the mini-electoral reform, there was another important issue scheduled to be discussed this Wednesday: the Amnesty PEC. But the matter did not advance. The Special Committee tried to approve the text of the rapporteur, deputy Antônio Carlos Rodrigues (PL-SP), but a request for review postponed the vote. Amnesty’s PEC exempts parties from paying fines for failing to comply with rules regarding the inclusion of women and black people among candidates. The text was already approved in May by the Chamber’s Constitution and Justice Committee.

Regarding the issue, Marina Atoji recalls that Transparência Brasil sent an open letter to the presidents of the Chamber and Senate warning about the dangers of the text. The document was signed by 49 other organizations, such as the Instituto Não Aceito Corspiração and the Associação Contas Abertas, to say that the proposal “in an irremediable way compromises the improvement of Brazilian democracy”.

The document states that “Proposed Amendment to the Constitution No. 9, which is being processed by the Special Committee of the House, prevents the Electoral Court from applying penalties to political parties for irregularities identified in the reporting of their own and electoral accounts that occurred up until this year (if it is enacted in 2023). The text also exempts from punishment parties that have not applied the minimum values ​​defined by law in campaigns involving black people and women in the 2022 elections.”

The organizations also consider that the approval of the PEC would be “unacceptable irresponsibility of the National Congress in the face of so many recent episodes – among which, the most regrettable occurred on January 8th of this year”.

For jurist Belisário dos Santos Júnior, the Amnesty PEC means a setback by reducing electoral funds for black and brown people, as foreseen in the text of the rapporteur, deputy Antônio Carlos Rodrigues (PL-SP). “Brazil’s big problem is education. When a project is built that creates incentives for women and black people to participate in the electoral system, it is so that it is fulfilled”, says Santos Júnior. For him, if the text is promulgated as it is, it should be vetoed by the President of the Republic.

Political scientist Jorge Mizael reaffirms that since the beginning of the work of the group of parliamentarians that debated the mini-reform, they have been warning about the dangers of discussing changes to electoral legislation in such a hasty manner. “This shows that political corporatism still has the power to reverse society’s order of priorities”, he laments.

The Amnesty PEC will still have to be approved by the Special Committee and then go through the Plenary of the Chamber of Deputies, with at least 308 votes in two rounds. If approved, it will go to the Senate.

Source link