The recently approved Transparency Law has exposed that at least a third of the 594 Brazilian federal lawmakers have pending bills with criminal and administrative courts referred mainly to cases of corruption, which is expected to have an impact in the coming elections of next year when most of Congress will be renewed.
The ‘Clean record’ bill approved following the presentation of over a million signatures by the electorate, impedes members of the two houses with pending Justice sentencing to run for office. The bill is seen as a great filter to prevent allegedly corrupt candidates and hopefuls to run again for re-election.
With the bill, the over 80 million which make up the Brazilian electorate have a clear map for the 2014 elections of the current congress and its members, with a transparent list of Deputies and Senators which have been condemned either by criminal or administrative courts.
The ‘clean record’ map proves that criticism against political corruption during the long month of street protests in June, when millions demonstrated, were not unjustified. “They confirm a very negative evaluation of the current members of Congress” said Claudio Weber Abramo, head of Transparency International Brazil branch.
The map shows that 190 of the 594 Brazilian federal lawmakers, almost a third, have at some time been condemned for criminal or administrative charges.
Furthermore no party is absent from the list: PMDB, the largest with 101 members has 36 that have been sentenced; the ruling Workers Party of Lula da Silva with 100 lawmakers has 28; the PSDB, the main opposition force, 60 and 22; the PR, 43 and 14 and PSB, 29 and 12 sentenced. This includes fourteen active lawmakers with jail sentences; thirteen of them had the sentence changed for fines of community services.
The list of crimes of the 190 sentenced includes manslaughter; degrading practices; abuse of power; administrative illegalities; public monies abuse; illicit enrichment totalling a list of fourteen different crimes.
In the public opinion polls on performance and approval of the country’s main institutions, the Brazilian Congress has always invariably been bottom of the list, but with the new legislation, improved transparency will allow the electorate to have a better picture of those members who effectively are involved in community affairs and those solely concerned with their interests, according to Weber Abramo.
The 2014 elections will be the first in the country in which the electorate will have such information and a test also to calibre the degree of responsibility of voters and their rejection of corruption acts committed by elected officials. “Nobody will be able to allege ignorance when voting a corrupt politician”.