The perils of electoral governance: how good decisions can undermine electoral integrity in Brazil

In this paper I submit that a combination of some decisions made by different actors (the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, the National Congress and the Supreme Federal Court) that individually aimed at improving electoral governance in Brazil can actually undermine trust in the Electoral Justice and in the 2020 elections. These are the decisions to: (1) abolish party coalitions for legislative elections and create a threshold for distributing party public funding; (2) implement an electronic judicial process to be used by electoral judges; and (3) reduce the time available for the Electoral Justice to process the registrations. I shall demonstrate that while (1) incentives political parties to register a record number of candidates, (2) and (3) undermine the Electoral Justice capacity of judging the applications for registration prior to the election. Thus, instead of protecting and promoting electoral integrity, these factors may threaten democracy and even trigger political disruption.

Brazilian legislative branch: powers, activities and dysfunctionalities

Contemporary constitutional theory has a number of new concepts designed to address dysfunctionalities at the Legislative branch considering its functions, how it operates changes in constitutions and legislation, its jurisdictional powers, among other activities. Brazilian reality is no exception to these problems: Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment, successive amendments to the Constitution aimed at removing social rights, major legislative changes in labor rights, and threats to women's rights are some of the recent activities of Brazilian Parliament. Some authors consider that a number of these changes are unconstitutional constitutional amendments and even that Brazil is going through a process of Constitutional dismemberment. This research aims to examine the Brazilian reality combining empirical and theoretical approaches to demonstrate how the Legislative branch operates and if it is dysfunctional, and to project solutions to these issues in order to ensure constitutional democracy.

Can a Supreme Court be an unstabilizing component for political party funding? A Brazilian case study

Constitutional courts are nowadays considered essential institutions for the accountability of political power. When they defend constitutional democracy, the question of their legitimacy is normally left behind. In crisis times, however, a constitutional court is normally questioned about the limits of the constitutional adjudication and its consequences for the political sphere. This paper aims to investigate a concrete case involving the Brazilian constitutional Court, the Supremo Tribunal Federal, and the consequences of constitutional adjudication for the Brazilian political party founding system, especially due to the ADI n. 4650. Crucial for the analysis is not only the decision referred above, but also the regulation of political party funding by constitutional courts from other countries. The paper concludes that, rather than acting as a stabilizing element, the constitutional adjudication of the STF made dysfunctional the Brazilian System of political party funding.

Limited Institutional Reforms in Transitional Contexts: demands based the case study of Women's Political Representation in Brazil

Women's political representation in Brazil is regulated by Law 12.034 of 2009, which changed art. 10, §3, of Law 9.504 of 1997, providing that political parties must register at least a quota of 30% of candidates of each gender in each election. Nonetheless, effective inclusion effects on political representation, especially in the House of Representatives, has been constantly breached by political parties that manipulate the quotas to have access to electoral funding. This essay aims at showing that women's political representation was not strongly affected by institutional transitional reforms that could propitiate effective inclusion., as transformative reforms were not the center of the discussion. Using the methodology of case study to approach the elections of 2018, the objective is to show how political parties have contributed to stall women's political participation in Brazil using the quotas as political engineering.

Dialogues or cooperation? Judicial intervention in the Brazilian political-electoral system

The judicialization of megapolitics in Brazil, despite its critics, is a consequence of the 1988’s Constitution, which strengthened the judicial institutions, such as Brazilian Supreme Court and Electoral Justice. Also, judicial intervention would be made possible by factors such as parliamentary delegation (MARCHETTI; CORTEZ, 2009), instability of electoral regulation, which would demand constant update (SADEK, 1995) and the Brazilian model of electoral governance (v.g GRAEFF; BARRETO, 2017). In this context, political actors and civil associations provoke judicial branch, so the interpretation of constitutional principles may establish guidelines to structure electoral mechanisms. The research, after an exploratory-qualitative analysis of emblematic decisions in electoral matters, concludes that there is an ongoing “political reform” in the judicial branch, followed by attempts to reverse these decisions in parliament, which shows a competition between the political and legal systems

Fake News in Brazilian Electoral Law: a new challenge for old instruments

The present study intends to analyze the case involving donations from legal persons, which is prohibited by Brazilian Electoral Law, used to orchestrate fake news dissemination, in the scope of the campaign of then presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, in 2018, as a challenge for the current Electoral System. Even though Electoral justice system has the duty to investigate the origins of all donations received by a candidate, when the illegal sources are used to promote fake news, this duty is challenged by a new phenomena, that demands more time and resources to be investigated. Thereby, the lack of a proper legal action, that could allow a deeper investigation of fake news cases — and consequentially of the resources used to promote it — puts the Brazilian Electoral Law one step behind the current demands, and undermines electoral fair play and the very structure of representative democracy.