Blog da Cidadania, by Edu Guimarães:
There is a saying in Brazil that often comes in handy in trying to navigate murky waters:
For our friends, anything; for our enemies, the Law
For several weeks now, blogger Luis Nassif and a handful of like-minded progressives has warned of a plot to carry out a “Paraguayan coup d’etat” to prevent the recently reelected president, Dilma Rousseff, from taking the oath for her second term.
The term refers to the removal of Lugo in Paraguay in an impeachment proceeding that lasted 48 hours, permitted only two hours for the preparation of the defense, and was based on a flimsy theory of crimes of responsibility.
As Edu Guimarães notes — in a post that is throwing a «503 Service Temporarily Unavailable» message at the moment — the third element in a Paraguay-style end run around the Constitution lies with the justices of the TSE.
The campaign accounts of President Dilma are the responsibility of Supreme Court justice and TSE minister Gilmar Mendes, while the Neves accounts have been assigned to TSE minister Maria Thereza de Assis Moura.
Dilma should have received a report from the TSE, but a last-minute manuever by TSE chief minister Dias Toffoli routed her campaign accounts to her political enemy, Mendes.
There are other differences between the treatment afforded the candidates by the TSE.
1 – Gilmar Mendes refused to divulge the sums and identities of donors to the Dilma campaign, which are now public information. He ordered the digitalization of physical receipts for the donations and expenses of the candidate, including an itemization of these expenditures.
2 – Last week, Gilmar Mendes had already made an important decision that increased the different in treatment of the two campaigns by the TSE: he called on technicians from the tax authority, the Central Bank and the TCU to analyze the president’s accounts.
Nothing like this was done with the Neves campaign accounts: no presentation of physical receipts for donations and expenses, no request for oversight by agents of the tax authority …
As a matter of fact, requesting an audit from the accounting agency that controls the federal government suggests that the president’s enemy in the Supreme Court is accusing her of robbing the Treasury and invested this sum in her own campaign. No more, no less. It is as though the minister in charge of the Neves accounts had asked the Senate to analyze his campaign accounts.
The high-profile actions of Gilmar Mendes reinforce the theory of a conspiracy laying the for a partial or total rejection of the Dilma campaign’s accounts, which would obligate the Supreme Court to try the president on charges of electoral crimes.
If, in the best-case scenario, Dilma’s political enemy will have merely embarrassed himself, in the worst case the elements will be in place for a “Paraguyan coup d’etat” by the agency that regulates elections, given that neither Dilma or Temer can take office without the approval of their finances.
In the most unlikely of cases, there is a chance that the runner-up in the elections will be sworn in next year: an event unique in our history. In practical terms, it would constitute what appears to be a legitimate coup, except that upholding the accusation prior to any investigation demonstrates an antidemocratic intention.
Aside: All the parties have submitted their campaign accounting, which is freely available on the TSE Web site.
Blog da Cidadania is back on the air.
Filed under: Brazil