Faced with the advance of three commissions that debate several changes in electoral rules and policies for the 2022 dispute, a group of 35 entities and specialists promotes a public campaign to try to stop setbacks in the law.
Under the motto “Brake on the Reform, policy reforms with democracy”, the entities ask for more time to discuss large-scale proposals, that there are no cash changes and that measures of transparency, inspection, and reduction of rental captions and encouragement to the participation of blacks and women, among others.
“Macro reforms cannot be discussed in the pandemic and voted on until October. Punctual reform, yes, tsunami reform, no”, says a text on the website set up for the campaign.
As has always been the case in a pre-election year — the rules for disputes must be in force at least one year before the election — Congress is mobilizing to change the law, in large part with measures that loosen inspection, transparency and punishment on parties and candidates.
In 2019, for example, the Chamber tried to approve a jet project with several setbacks in the legislation, which was only eased after public pressure led by a good part of the entities that have now returned to mobilization.
Organizations such as Transparency Party, Brazilian Association of Political Science, Transparency Brazil, Institute of Technology and Society, Abraji (Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism), Associação Contas Abertas and the Free Movements, Believe and Renews BR.
“We, civil society organizations and specialists who signed this manifesto, come to the public to defend that changes in the operating rules of the Brazilian political system be carried out with transparency and broad social participation”, begins the manifesto, which lists some principles.
That all interested parties are heard and have demands considered, that no changes are rushed to be voted on, that public hearings are held after the public disclosure of the details of the projects, and that the position of each parliamentarian and each party is clearly made public.
Among the specific points defended are the preservation and improvement of rules to encourage the participation of “women, blacks and other groups underrepresented in institutional policy”, maintenance of laws aimed at reducing the party alphabet soup in the country (performance clause and end of coalitions), preservation of the electronic voting system, in addition to the expansion of transparency rules for party and candidate expenses.
The text also asks that some debates, such as the change of the electoral system to the so-called district, take place after the pandemic.
“The electoral legislation really needs a series of adjustments, but the changes that are under discussion may have an impact on the functioning of the entire political system. Furthermore, the condition in which we find ourselves, whether due to the difficulties imposed by the pandemic, be it because of the authoritarian dispositions that are frequently verified, it should make this debate happen with an extra dose of transparency and social participation.”, says Marcelo Issa, executive director of Transparência Partidária.
“It’s not a simple task, especially in the current context, but I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the very future of democracy in Brazil may depend on it.”
Among the proposals discussed in the Chamber are the implementation of electronic voting printing, the replacement of the current electoral model (proportional) for the district and the return of corporate financing for campaigns.
The district is the rule by which in elections for deputies and councilors the most voted are elected. In the current system, the proportional, the distribution of seats is made based on the vote received by all party candidates, elected and defeated, in addition to the vote in the party.
The district, in addition to weakening the parties, renders most of the votes cast by voters ineffective (those directed to the losers, in addition to the excess given to the winners). This model has already been rejected twice by the Chamber.
Executive Secretary of the Brazilian Political Science Association, Bruno Bolognesi highlights as the main points of concern precisely the possibility of approval by the district and the pressure of medium and small parties for there to be setbacks in legislation aimed at curbing rental subtitles or those without significant popular representation .
The debate for changes in electoral legislation was set in motion by the president of the Chamber, Arthur Lira (PP-AL).
One of the commissions, reported by Margarete Coelho (PP-PI), Lira’s ally, aims to repeal all electoral legislation and replace it with a single electoral and electoral procedural code.
Among the proposals studied is the flexibilization of the Law of Ineligibility —which was tightened by the Clean Sheet Law, in 2010— and a brake on the power of the TSE (Superior Electoral Court) to issue resolutions.
Another commission, reported by Renata Abreu (Podemos-SP), discusses changes to the Constitution, which need to be endorsed by at least 60% of deputies and senators, in two rounds of voting in each House.
The third debate revolves around the printed vote, the flag of the Bolsonaro government, which has raised suspicions that have never been proven against the current system of electronic voting machines.