The president of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), Minister Luís Roberto Barroso, joined the chorus of senators against the proposal of the “district”, a voting model under discussion in the Chamber of Deputies to replace the proportional system by the majority, which considers only the names most voted. In a session of thematic debates of the Senate this Monday (5), which debated possible adjustments in the electoral legislation, senators and the minister assess that the “district” weakens the parties.
Under the current model, deputies are elected under the proportional system. In it, vacancies are defined according to the number of votes for each party and the electoral quotient. In the “district”, the deputies with the highest number of votes in each state win the seats, without taking into account the total obtained by the party. “The district does not make campaigns cheaper, it may make it more expensive, it will weaken the parties and it will be dramatic for the representation of minorities”, observed Barroso. The minister added that less than 10% of the candidates elected to the Chamber of Deputies get the necessary votes on their own.
“Since there is a lot of prejudice against the closed list, the TSE proposed a formula in which the voter votes for the party if he wants to, and the party list is followed, but the voter can also vote for the candidate. And, if the candidate has his own electoral coefficient, he will stick to the list”, he explained, speaking of a voting model similar to the mixed district, but with adaptations. Barroso chose São Paulo to exemplify how the model would be. According to him, the 70 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and just over 33 million voters in the state would be divided into 35 electoral districts.
“The district only has disadvantages. All over the world you vote for the party. Brazil is an exception. In no country in the world is your party partner your opponent. As long as we don’t solve this issue, we’re going to go around, doing some reform and such and we’re not going to attack the main problem. If we want to vote for the candidate, we have to restrict the location”, assessed senator Marcelo Castro (MDB-PI). Despite agreeing with the idea of changes in electoral legislation, Castro stressed that the “district” increases the fragmentation in the legislative houses and “personalism”, according to him, two of the current problems of the electoral system. The senator defended a mixed district vote in which voters have two votes: one for candidates in the district and one for the subtitles. The same model is used in Germany.
“See that our capital of the state of Mato Grosso, Cuiabá, today has 25 seats in the City Council and 19 parties represented. It is not logical for the administration, for the mayor to form a coalition with 19 parties being represented. There is some error in this. The initial correction we want to make starts with the electoral leftovers; that slate that the party presents only participates in the leftovers when it reaches the electoral coefficient” highlighted another senator, Carlos Fávaro (PSD-MT).
Fávaro is the author of a project to regulate electoral surpluses, vacancies not filled by the result of the party quotient. PL 783/2021 received support during the meeting. Also during the debate, Thiago Bovério, from the Political and Party Law Institute (Pluris), criticized the proposal under discussion in the Chamber to introduce the “district”. “We will have, if approved, 513 parties. How is TV distributed to these 513 resources? How to manage this, not to mention the probability of the entry of organized crime, cash two, abuse of economic power?”, he criticized.
For the jurist and former Justice Minister Eugênio Aragão, the solution could be the adoption of a mixed voting system. “Too many parties create an enormous difficulty of governance. The “district” is a disservice to democracy, as we know it today, as a representation of the great currents of society. We really need to have a system in which parties have more power to shape elections,” he said.
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