Brazil: “End of the Secret Ballot in Congress?”

The image “https://i0.wp.com/i113.photobucket.com/albums/n216/cbrayton/curto.png” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Angelí on FUD: “I don’t trust the guy, but I vote for him. He steals, but he gets stuff done. He lies, but he’s convincing. He’s guilty, but no one can prove it. What do you think?” “I think you’re an idiot, but you don’t know it.”

PEC do voto aberto deve enfrentar barreiras: a Constitutional amendment to put an end to secret balloting in congressional votes “faces barriers,” reports G1/Globo.

Yes, in Brazil, you still cannot know how the people you elect to represent you vote on the issues.

Hillary Clinton or John Kerry: “As a matter of fact, I voted against authorizing the Iraq War.”

You could infer that some of the people making that claim were lying — very few voted against the authorization (Dennis Kucinich: “I told you so!”) — but you could not know who. Not with any certainty. In which case, David Sasaki-style “fear and misinformation abound.”

Após a absolvição do senador Renan Calheiros (PMDB), que conseguiu evitar a cassação em uma sessão fechada, o fim do voto secreto no Congresso virou bandeira para muitos parlamentares da base do governo e da oposição. Mas, apesar disso, deverá enfrentar muitas dificuldades para ser aprovado no Senado.

After the absolution of Sen. Renan Calheiros (PMDB), who managed to avoid being stripped of his office in a closed session, the end of the secret vote in Congress became a rallying cry for a lot of lawmakers from both the government and opposition factions. Even so, the proposal will confront a lot of difficulties to be approved in the Senate.

Bipartisan support? In the Brazilian congress? That could be quite good thing as well, you would think — and in fact is not as rare as what you read in the papers, with their Larry Rohter-style Manichaean masterplot of political polarization, as I was reading the other day.

The opposition in this Congress has voted nearly 60% of the time in favor of government proposals, I think I read. I guess the trick is sending out bills that have a chance of getting passed. Sticking to the doable. Go figure.

Isso porque não há consenso sobre se o voto aberto deve valer para todas as votações no Congresso, como prevê a proposta de emenda à Constituição (PEC) 50/2006, de autoria do senador Paulo Paim (PT-RS), aprovada na última quarta (19) pela Comissão de Constituição e Justiça (CCJ) do Senado.

That’s because there is a lack of consensus over whether open voting ought to apply to all votes in Congress, as provided for by Constitutional Amendment No. 50/2006, introduced by Sen. Paim (PT-Rio Grande do Sul), which was approved by the [Senate Judiciary Committee-equivalent, sort of] last week.

A líder do PT no Senado, Ideli Salvatti (SC), atribui ao “calor do momento” a preferência quase generalizada pelo voto aberto. Mas, segundo ela, esse é um assunto que sempre tem “dificuldade de fluir”.

The leader of the Workers Party in the Senate, Ms. Salvatti of Santa Catarina, attributed the near-universal sentiment for the open vote to “the heat of the moment,” but says this is a topic that has already had “a hard time prospering.”

“No plenário, após a aprovação na CCJ, ficou claro que não será tranqüilo [aprovar a PEC de Paim]. Os líderes que não estavam presentes na comissão questionaram o fato de entrar como prioridade quando a pauta for desobstruída”, declarou Ideli.

“In the plenary session, after it was reported out by the CCJ, it was quite clear it is not going to [be approved automatically.] The leaders who were not at the committee meeting are questioning the whether it should be given top priority when [the opposition stops obstructing] the legislative agenda,” she said.

A senadora destacou que, “da última vez que o plenário colocou o tema como prioridade, foi rejeitado, inclusive por ardorosos defensores hoje do voto aberto”.

She remarked, “The last time the full Senate made this issue a priority, it was rejected, including by ardent supporters of the open vote.”

Segundo Ideli, se depender do PT, a PEC de Paulo Paim será aprovada. “O PT não tem problema. A bancada está fechada em relação ao projeto do Paim, de abrir o voto para tudo. Quando discutimos isso em bancada, foi unânime. Apenas um senador [Flávio Arns, do Paraná] não estava presente.”

According to Sen. Ideli, if were up to her party, the amendment would be approved. “The PT was no problems. Our benches have closed ranks in favor of Paim’s amendment, of opening all votes. When we debated this among ourselves, there was unanimity. Only one Senator [Arns of Paraná] was absent.

No PSB, também há ceticismo. Renato Casagrande (ES), líder do partido e vice-líder do governo, não prevê facilidades para a matéria no Senado.

In the PSB [Socialist], there is skepticism as well. Sen. Casagrande of Espírito Santo, party leader and vice-leader of the government benches [I guess that would make him sort of like, what, the “whip”?] does not foresee an easy passage for the amendment.

“Vejo muito mais próximo o fim da sessão secreta do que o fim do voto secreto. Eu particularmente voto a favor dos dois. Voto aberto pode passar, mas é mais difícil.”

“I think there is a better chance for the end to secret sessions than for an end to secret voting. I myself am voting for both. Open voting could pass, but it won’t be easy.”

Vice-líder do PSB no Senado, Antonio Carlos Valadares (SE) disse considerar “exagero” voto aberto para todas as situações. “Acho que há um exagero no calor das emoções, só porque está havendo cobrança da opinião pública. Em escolha da Mesa do Senado e da Câmara, escolha de autoridades, no STJ, STF, TCU, eu sou favorável que seja secreto.”

The vice-leader of the Socialist benches in the Senate, Sen. Valadares of Sergipe, said he finds open voting in all case an “overreaction.” “I think that this is an overreaction in the heat of the moment, only because public opinion is bringing pressure. In choosing the Senate and House leadership, in voting for judicial appointments, I have in favor of those votes being secret.”

Para Valadares, alguns senadores que apóiam a amplitude da proposta estão se “aproveitando do momento para se apresentar bem perante a mídia”.

In the view of Valadares, some senators who support the proposal in its entirety are “taking the opportunity to make themselves look good in the media.”

Oposição

Views from the opposition

Arthur Virgílio (AM), líder do PSDB na Casa, se diz favorável à PEC de Paim, mas afirmou que o partido não determinará a todos os parlamentares que votem pela aprovação. “Há unanimidade na bancada do PSDB quanto ao voto aberto em casos de cassação de mandato, mas não para todos os [demais] casos”, explicou ele.

Virgílio of Amapá, leader of the PSDB benches in the lower house, says he favors the Paim amendment, but reported that his party will not ask all of its members to vote to approve. “There is unanimity among the PSDB benches as to open voting in cases of impeachment, but not in every case,” he explained.

O líder da minoria na Câmara, senador Demóstenes Torres (DEM-GO), afirmou que o “voto poderia ser fechado em uma ou outra questão”, mas, apesar disso, afirmou que recomendará a aprovação da PEC de Paulo Paim.

The Senate minority leader, Demóstenes Torres of Goiás, said “the vote might be closed in one matter or another,” but even so, said he would recommend approval of the Paim Amendment.

“Em uma situação como essa, em que se cobra transparência, [colocar exceções para a aprovação da PEC] seria comprometer a imagem do Senado. Acho que o Senado já está muito desgastado. E essa é uma posição que ajuda a recuperar sua imagem.”

“In a situation like this, in which transparency is being called for, [demanding exceptions in exchange for supporting the amendment] would be to undermine the image of the Senate. I think the Senate is already [in a reputational hole.] And this is the only position that will help improve its image.

Dúvidas sobre PMDB

Doubts about the PMDB

Para Demóstenes Torres, uma das dúvidas em relação à aprovação da proposta se refere ao PMDB, partido do presidente do Senado.

For Torres, one unknown factor in the matter is the PMDB, the party to which the President of the Senate belongs.

“If it fails to pass, it will not be our fault!” This Torres guy is something.

Will the vote on ending the secret ballot be conducted by secret ballot?

O líder do PMDB, senador Valdir Raupp (RO), reclamou, por meio de sua assessoria de imprensa, de não ter participado do acordo na CCJ que prevê prioridade de tramitação para a PEC de Paulo Paim.

PMDB leader Raupp of Rondônia complained, through his press office, of not having taken part in the CCJ negotiation that provided for the amendment to be fast-tracked.

The short-term question being whether this is going to affect the next couple of attempted borkings of Calheiros, the “sex senator” — this time on matters not directly related to that baby mom of his who was slated to appear on the cover of Playboy Brasil. Mônica bares all!

Raupp não informou, no entanto, se votaria a favor ou contra a proposta e nem como se posicionaria a bancada peemedebista.

Raupp did not say, however, whether he would vote for or against the proposal or what position the PMDB benches would take.

Concessão

Concession

O senador Álvaro Dias (PSDB-PR) afirmou que a oposição está favorável ao projeto de Paim por conta de uma “concessão”.

Sen. Dias of the PSDB said the opposition favors the Paim amendment because of a “concession.”

“Essa proposta atende a interesses do governo porque é abrangente, possibilitando ao governo exercer força e pressão. E nos atende em função da cassação de mandato. Por isso, para garantir a aprovação do voto aberto nos casos de cassação, nós [oposição] acabamos fazendo uma concessão e aceitando essa proposta ampliada”, explicou.

“This proposal is in the government’s interest because it is comprehensive, enable the government to exercise pressure and power. And it also serves our interest in impeachment. For this reason, to guarantee open votes in impeachment cases, we, the opposition, wound up making a concession and accepting this more comprehensive proposal,” he explained.

A win-win deal between (1) Toucans and (2) the party allegedly supported by “narcoguerrillas,” at least according to the black-billed São Paulo variety of the species?

I find that — as an idle observer of the passing scene — kind of heartening.

The politics of hysterical crisis-mongering really do seem to be gradually going out of fashion in Brazil.

After living through a period of hysterical screaming memes back in gringoland — I think especially of Tom Ridge coming to Manhattan and gibbering ominously about “mushroom clouds,” and that infamous “scare them shitless” New York Post headline about “Rubber Baby Buggy Bombers” in the subways (fuckers) — it would be nice not to have to be bombarded with it in my tropical place of exile as well. Is all I am saying.

I just want to listen to the operatic warbling of the sabiá and work on my little writing and translation projects.
Politicians should be boring, make the trains run on time, and stay the hell out of our way. This is my gut feeling at this point in my life. And I bet you a beer, mutatis mutandis, that a lot of these Brazilians down here have similar feelings.

O também tucano Papaléo Paes (PSDB-AP) afirmou ser favorável à aprovação do voto secreto somente para casos que envolvem parlamentares e indicações para cargos no governo. Mesmo assim, disse acreditar na aprovação da PEC.

Paes of the PSDB said he favored the secret vote only in cases involving lawmakers and in cabinet and judicial nominations. Even so, he thinks the Paim amendment will pass.

“Se não tiver alternativa, voto a favor do projeto de Paim. Acho que esse é o pensamento de parte do PSDB. Apesar de eu achar muita exposição [segundo ele, voto aberto em casos de veto presidencial, por exemplo, pode prejudicar parlamentares que tentam verba para seu estado], acho que o Senado aprovará.”

“If there is no alternative, I will vote for the Paim amendment. I think this is the way part of the PSDB is thinking. Though I think this is an awful lot of exposure [according to Paes, open voting to override presidential vetos, for example, could harm lawmakers trying to get federal money for their state], I think the Senate will approve it.”

O que diz a Constituição

What the constitution says

Atualmente, a Constituição Federal prevê voto secreto em casos de cassação de mandato de parlamentares; indicação de ministros do Tribunal de Contas da União; presidente e diretores do Banco Central; procurador-geral da República; chefes de missão diplomática de caráter permanente; e em votação de vetos do presidente da República.

Currently, the Brazilian constitution provides for secret voting in cases of impeachment; nominations to the Accounting Tribunal of the Union; the president and directors of the Central Bank; the federal attorney [the Brazilian Alberto Gonzalez in his law-enforcement role, but there is also a Minister of Justice]; and votes to override presidential vetos.

Now. that reportingwas very educational. I understand a little more about Brazilian political horsetrading than I used to.

And not a single anonymous source used.

And, knock me over with a feather, the journalists who produced it work for Globo. The evil, gabbling Globo.

New neuronal connections were created, not destroyed.

I was not asked to believe that corruption is an incurable mental disease (TV Globo: “Corruption is an Incurable Disease!”)

Mirabile dictu!

Put these Internet guys in charge of TV stations.

Seriously.

Do it now.

Fire Ali Kamel.

With prejudice.

Roll out Veja 2.0, under brand-new editorial management.

Promote these people.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s