For the first time in nearly 90 years, the OAB (Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil) of São Paulo, the country’s largest branch, will have a woman as president.
The criminal lawyer and professor Patricia Vanzolini, 49, will lead the organization for the next three years, in a term that runs from 2022 to 2024.
With almost 97% of the ballot boxes selected, Vanzolini achieved an advantage just over 3 percentage points in relation to the second place, the current president, Caio Augusto Silva dos Santos, who was running for reelection.
The lawyer declared herself the winner and her advisors informed that she was congratulated for the victory by Caio Santos, second place in the election.
At the beginning of the counting, he came to lead the dispute. With just over 3% ballot boxes missing, Vanzolini had 64.2 thousand votes and Caio Santos, 58.8 thousand.
In all, five plates competed in the election. Third place went to criminalist Dora Cavalcanti’s ticket, the only ticket in which the candidates for president and vice president were women.
Then, practically tied, were the criminalist Mário de Oliveira Filho and the legal consultant Alfredo Scaff, who presented himself as a conservative and was supported by pocket narists.
Voting in elections is mandatory, according to the OAB-SP Electoral Commission, more than 350 thousand lawyers were able to vote.
Master and Doctor in Law from PUC (Pontifical Catholic University) of São Paulo, Vanzolini is a professor at Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie and at Damásio Educacional. She joined the OAB in 2002 and will hold a management position at the organization for the first time.
“More than representing the first woman in charge of the largest sectional in the country, I recognize the weight of the responsibility that is to rebuild the OAB with my commitment to act in the uncompromising defense of the prerogatives of all lawyers and the valorization of the profession, from the first to the last day of my term,” the president-elect said in a statement.
In the last election of the entity, in 2018, she was vice of lawyer Leonardo Sica, when they were in 3rd place with 16% of the votes. This year they reversed positions and Sica is the vice president. The bet was that, as she was also a professor, she had the potential to mobilize young law firms, amidst what they see as apathy towards the entity.
Since 1932, the year it was founded, the OAB-SP has been presided over by 22 men. The first female victory in the history of the São Paulo sectional takes place in the first OAB election under the gender parity rule, approved in December 2020 by the entity’s Federal Council.
According to the rule, both the composition of the slates, as well as positions of command and directors had to respect the proportion of 50% men and 50% women.
Currently, all 27 chapter presidents are men. As of 2018, only ten women had won state elections. This year, so far, three other states, in addition to São Paulo, have also elected women.
The new board elected for the São Paulo sectional comprises, in addition to the presidency, four other positions. Six federal councilors were also elected, three of them effective and three alternates. The holders are lawyers Alberto Zacharias Toron, Carlos José Silva dos Santos and Silvia de Souza.
The other members of the elected slate are divided between permanent and alternate state councilors, in addition to members of the board of directors of CAASP (Caixa de Assistencia dos Advogados de São Paulo).
Among the pillars of Vanzolini’s campaign proposals is financial transparency, she promises to “open the black box” of the sectional. Regarding the annuity, which reaches almost R$1,000, she says that it is necessary to analyze the entity’s accounts, but understands that it is possible to reduce the amount.
His ticket also had the defense of the legal prerogatives as a flag, as well as equal treatment between lawyers, prosecutors and magistrates.
The lawyer is critical of Felipe Santa Cruz’s position at the head of the OAB Nacional presidency and argues that there can be no suspicions of party-political interests on the entity.
One issue that divided the five candidates for the presidency of the OAB-SP was precisely how much the OAB should position itself in relation to issues of national policy.
Vanzolini also committed to the end of reelection in the sectional. The same promise had been made in 2018 by the current president, Caio Santos, given the context of low renovation in the entity. Since 2004, he was the third lawyer to preside over the OAB-SP.
In addition, she defends the end of indirect elections for the national presidency of the OAB. According to the current rule, who defines the entity’s command are the federal councilors, the vote for the next three-year period takes place on January 31st.
In addition to gender parity, this was the Order’s first election with racial quotas of 30%. However, the reservation of vacancies for the black law firm, which initially also applied to the board, was changed in August of this year, in the Council, and started to apply only to the slates as a whole.
The dispute for the OAB-SP was also marked by requests for challenges to plates for alleged fraud against racial quotas. However, without a general rule on how the inspection would be, they were filed without analyzing the merits.
Although none of the candidates for the São Paulo sectional have been openly against the quotas, there were ambiguous speeches and questions about the real commitment to the agenda. The current management of the OAB-SP had been the target of a series of criticisms on the subject.
Part of the advocacy and opposition slates also criticized the current president of the section for not having implemented online voting. Changing the voting system was one of his campaign commitments in 2018. The argument is that face-to-face voting increases the share of those who do not vote.
The elections this Thursday took place amidst the strike by employees of the OAB-SP, which began on Wednesday (24) for salary readjustments. Despite this, according to the entity’s advisors, voting took place normally in all subsections across the state.
In the section, pamphlets critical of Caio Santos’ administration were handed out, asking the lawyers not to vote for him.
According to Sinsexpro (Union of Workers of Local Authorities for the Inspection of Professional Practice and Related Entities in the State of São Paulo), the OAB-SP has about 2,100 employees throughout the state. In the capital, 90% of the 600 professionals joined the strike, according to the union.