By Maria Carolina Marcello
Brasília (Reuters) – The Chamber of Deputies this Tuesday night rejected the PEC of the printed vote, in a defeat against President Jair Bolsonaro in a matter that generated controversy and an institutional crisis among the powers of the Republic.
The scoreboard registered 229 votes in favor of the Proposed Amendment to the Constitution and 218 against. There was an abstention. As it is a PEC, to be approved, the matter would need the vote of 308 of the 513 deputies.
Even rejected by a special committee of the Chamber, the PEC was taken to the plenary by the president of the House, Arthur Lira (PP-AL), with the intention of burying the matter once and for all. The deputy guarantees that he received from Bolsonaro the commitment to accept and respect the result that came out of the vote.
This does not mean, however, that Bolsonaro does not insist on other fronts related to the issue or cease attacks on authorities.
Lira, who guarantees that he trusts in the security of the current voting system through electronic voting machines, defends, in turn, the debate on an increase in the level of auditing of the voting machines among the sectors involved.
“It is important that there is common sense from now on on the part of the Executive Branch, on the part of the Judiciary Branch, so that we can all sit down and choose a rational, clear, objective way to increase transparency, auditing, doubts. that by chance may still hover above the electoral system and the way it conducts itself”, said Lira after the vote.
But regarding the printed vote, Lira hopes the discussion is over at the Casa. “At the Chamber, I hope that this matter is definitively closed.”
VOTE ON PAPER AND TANKS ON THE STREETS
The proposal for the printed vote has been defended by Bolsonaro and allies, but most political parties had already taken a stand against it. Already foreseeing the defeat, the president started accusing members of the Judiciary of interfering in the issue, opening a new institutional crisis that had as its apex a military parade this Tuesday morning.
Officially, the passage of the armored convoy through the Esplanada dos Ministérios and Praça dos Três Poderes –where the National Congress and the Federal Supreme Court (STF) are located, in addition to the Planalto Palace– marked the delivery of an invitation to President Bolsonaro to military operation in the municipality of Goiás.
The military exercise in the Goiás city of Formosa has been taking place since 1988, but this is the first time that the delivery of the invitation is accompanied by a parade of military vehicles.
Among parliamentarians, the move was interpreted as an attempt to intimidate Congress precisely on the day that the PEC of the printed vote would be analyzed.
Throughout his various defenses of what he called an “auditable vote” – the current system is already auditable and what the president and his allies defend is the impression of the vote – Bolsonaro even said that he would not accept the result of the next elections if he considers it that they have not occurred in a “clean” way.
It also elected as a favorite target the president of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), Luís Roberto Barroso, who is also a minister of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), on whom he made personal attacks and accused him of undue interference in the legislative process.
Barroso, who publicly reaffirms the security of the current system and the inviolability of electronic voting machines, took a stand against the PEC in hearings with parliamentarians.
Speaking for the PSDB leadership during the voting session, deputy Carlos Sampaio (PSDB-SP), recalled that in 2014, when he was the party’s vice president, he asked the TSE for an audit, which lasted a year and had the participation of technicians from the court and also from abroad. At the time, no fraud was identified, but the congressman considered that the way the system was structured at the time, it was not auditable.
The deputy stated, however, that the TSE resolution issued at the end of 2019 brought “such a detailed and careful revolution in the aspects of auditing”. Sampaio explained that the resolution expanded the list of institutions that could participate in the audit, officially inviting the Armed Forces to the process, in addition to authorizing simulated attacks on the system.
“We all want an auditable vote, society wants an auditable vote. Here we are talking about the printed vote”, said Sampaio.
“And the printed vote was the one that required the participation of a commission of board members, of thousands of men across Brazil checking numbers and names, because fraud was shameful throughout the country. Ballot boxes were diverted in the transport of these votes. And these votes were conferred by thousands of human beings here in Brazil, people who had party ties”, added the toucan, stating that with the TSE resolution the issue was “defeated”.
“We no longer have any doubts. We in our party, me as a deputy, me with my history as a prosecutor, I no longer have the slightest doubt that the system is safe.”
Bolsonaro’s allies, such as Deputy Carlos Jordy (PLS-RJ), however, stated that the approval of the PEC would guarantee more transparency to the election and would not facilitate fraud.
“Hearing here so many statements about the printed vote coming from the opposition, there is no way we can not have the conviction that they are blatantly lying to be able to apply a defeat to President Bolsonaro and his base,” said the Pocket Parliamentarian.
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