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Congress Threatens Promotion of Women’s Representation in Politics | News and analysis of the most relevant facts in Brazil | DW

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Congress Threatens Promotion of Women's Representation in Politics |  News and analysis of the most relevant facts in Brazil |  DW

The concurrent debate that is taking place in the National Congress, without the necessary transparency and maturation, is changing important foundations of the current electoral system in Brazil and could seriously jeopardize the future of women’s representation in the country’s politics – at a time when much of the world is discussing measures for gender parity.

Some of the details of constitutional amendment proposals (PECs) that are being processed in the House and Senate – in parallel with the closely complementary 905-article bill that sets out the new Electoral Code – present different rules and could jeopardize the effectiveness of quota policies. , with at least 30% of applications from women.

Suffrage experts consulted by DW Brasil point to concerns about the drafting of articles on these proposals and criticize the lack of transparency in the debate, raising doubts about the haste with which Congress wants to pass the new rules before October this year. to the fact that it may already be in force in the 2022 elections.

“We are all very concerned about this legislative flow when there are so many changes happening at the same time. First, because these proposals do not interact with each other. They are at odds with each other. And we have an Electoral Code that has been in effect since 1965. Why Do they suddenly want to change everything? What is the urgency of this? ”Asks Ana Claudia Santano, general coordinator of the Transparência Eleitoral Brasil and professor of electoral and constitutional law. “This code is not just a set of rules. It changes a lot, ”he warns.

Backlash risk

One problem pointed out by women advocating for expanding women’s space in the legislature and executive is that the texts of at least PEC 18/2021, approved in the Senate on July 14, bring old issues back to the table. Despite the good intentions of parliamentarians and the work of the women’s bench in the Senate, the PEC’s wording fails.

The text “establishes new rules for the allocation of resources in electoral campaigns, specifying that each party must reserve a minimum of 30% and a maximum of 70% for proportional candidates for each gender.” Here’s the problem: the expression “must be reserved.” This expression has already caused problems in the past, as Brazilian parties, all with a patriarchal vision, are not obliged to nominate female candidates with such wording. Reserving does not mean filling.

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In 2009, the High Electoral Court (TSE) realized that the expression needed to be changed and ordered that parties should nominate candidates with at least 30% women.

It was this understanding of “commitment” that opened many years later the possibility of ensuring that funding was also proportional to the number of candidates, that is, 30% of the resources of electoral and party funds should be allocated to women candidates. , observing, obviously, proportionality: if women candidates are 40%, they receive, for example, 40% of financial resources.

This rule also upheld a decision by the Supreme Court (STF) in 2020 to ensure proportional funding not only for women candidates, but also for black candidates of both genders.

“The text of the Senate uses an old formula that did not work, namely: to instruct parties to simply reserve seats. Reservation is very different from filling. This leaves an optional quota, ”criticizes the Transparência Eleitoral Brasil coordinator.

“In Brazil, the quota policy has taken a long time to produce results. We have changed little since 1995 and reached the last elections with 15% of the seats for women in the House, which is the peak after the re-democratization process. Therefore, any measure that cancels the quota policy – this is bad Quotas exist to try to change reality. [para candidaturas femininas] influenced the increase in the number of elected representatives, although this is not a causal relationship, ”says Professor Luciana Oliveira Ramos, member of the Study Group on Law, Gender and Identity of the School of Law of São Paulo (FGV Direito SP).

Seat reservations are limited and must coexist with quotas.

The FGV professor acknowledges that the Senate’s intention to maintain the quota policy and at the same time to define the minimum reservation of seats for women in the legislature is positive, but has reservations. The Senate text provides for a gradual reserve of seats, starting at 18% of the seats in the next elections and reaching 30% in 2038.

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One of the caveats concerns interest reserves. “Allocating 18% of seats may seem good right away, but if we think about time and scale, reaching 30% in 2038, which is almost two decades from now, that’s very small. The average representation of women in the Americas is 32.% today. In just two decades, we will reach that average. The current global average is 25%, “says Ramos. She also emphasizes that the United Nations has gender parity in Agenda 5050 as early as 2030.

“This target of 30% by 2038 will reflect a huge delay in the development of Brazilian society. We must strive for a higher 50% cross-sectional representation of women, blacks and indigenous people. This will be far from what was expected and what is expected. This is being discussed in the world today, namely gender parity. This is written for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, ”says the FGV professor.

It is also imperative that these proposals before Congress do not replace the seat reservation quota policy, Ramos said. He emphasizes that the two initiatives must coexist.

“Since reserving seats alone is not enough to increase women’s representation in politics. By simply reserving seats, we lose the whole process of maturing institutions, actors and actresses participating in the political game in elections, such as raising awareness of party politicians to actually nominate women who are viable and have a real chance of being elected. “

The teacher also emphasizes that another important policy concerns the financing and allocation of public resources for women and black candidates. “It is not enough to just put the names of these people on the list, it is important to actually solidify these nominations.”

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“There is no risk,” says a spokesperson for the Electoral Code.

For Congressman Margaret Coelho (PP-PI), Rapporteur on the Electoral Code, “the text consolidates the successes achieved by the women’s bench in both the House and Senate, such as candidate quotas and funding for women, among other new. new opportunities so that we have more and more women in politics, ”she said in a message sent to DW Brasil.

The MP protects the preservation of quotas for women candidates. “Quotas for nominating candidates are still an important achievement, although they are not enough. There is a need for parties to encourage the formation of new women leaders, especially financially. The end of quotas will be accompanied by an end to the minimum funding for women candidates, which no parliamentarian does. Any such offer is an unacceptable rollback, “he said.

However, another PEC proposal for political reform, already approved in two rounds in the House and awaiting a Senate vote, defines different percentages of reserved seats for women, eliminating quotas.

The approved text calls for a double count of votes cast for candidates and blacks in the 2022 election. This rule will be used to calculate the proportion of Party Fund and Campaign Finance Special Fund (Election Fund) resources for these applications. …

For law professors, the PEC text on political reform was approved in a hurry, with numerous changes, without debate and could, yes, completely abolish the quota policy, which would be a risk. It would be wiser, MP Margaret Coelho admits, to keep the quota policy combined with reservations. According to her, the Senate proposal seems to be more advanced in this sense.

“Until parity is achieved, we must build rung by rung on the ladder that will lead us to a more inclusive parliament. Reserving seats is an important step towards ensuring a minimum representation, which, along with maintaining a nomination quota, will allow more women to be promoted to political protagonism. ”

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Even betting on Pivetta’s return to the political scene, Geller says he doesn’t discuss future opponents.

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Even betting on Pivetta's return to the political scene, Geller says he doesn't discuss future opponents.

(Photo: Playback/Internet)

Although Deputy Governor Otaviano Pivetta (no party) has repeatedly stated that he will not run in this year’s elections and under any electoral scenarios, as he returned to do double duty with Governor Mauro Mendez (DEM) as his deputy or even in speculation about a possible dispute for the Senate of the Republic, some preliminary candidates still include him in this political environment.

As did federal deputy Neri Geller (PP), who commented last Wednesday (19) in an interview with Rádio CBN Cuiabá about this possibility, perhaps pointing to a political turn or, who knows, to a personal request from the governor, Pivetta’s longtime friend. Thus, placing him as a possible opponent in a dispute in the Senate. Theoretically, this could create an “obstacle” to his provisional candidacy as Geller seeks a seat in the upper house of Congress.

Neri, who has already secured MDB’s support in the Senate race, is now looking to merge his name with the Mendez group. According to the progressive federal deputy, opponents or future compositions are not chosen in pre-election disputes, but work is only on fixing the name itself.

“I don’t discuss the possibility of opponents or squad. Today I have good relations with three parties: mine, the PP, as well as the SDP and the MBR. It is clear that Pivetta can reverse his decision not to participate in the elections and run for office in advance. But this does not affect how I act, work – respectfully, even with my opponents. However, it won’t affect me in any way. I am calm and very well positioned from an electoral point of view and, mainly, from the point of view of the support base that I am creating,” the deputy said.

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Neri also claimed that his candidacy was launched in an arc of alliances supported by former governor and former agriculture minister Blairo Maggi (PP), federal deputy Carlos Bezerra (MDB) and senator Carlos Favaro (PSD).

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LGBT phobia in politics may increase in 2022 – DW – 01/23/2022

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LGBT phobia in politics may increase in 2022 - DW - 01/23/2022

An atmosphere of hostility, attacks and threats against openly gay or LGBTQI+ politicians has been evident in several recent episodes within Brazilian political institutions, although for the average voter, a candidate’s sexual preference or gender identity has less and less influence on voting at the ballot box. – at least if we consider the major urban centers of the country.

LGBTQI+ politicians are preferred targets for the far right, and due to the polarized climate of this year’s Brazilian presidential election, many of them already fear that the agenda of customs and gender ideology will be a topic raised in the National Congress by allies of Jair Bolsonaro. , which would serve as a weapon against the centre-left and pollute the pre-election debate.

The biggest rejection of Bolsonaro, according to a Datafolha Institute survey last December, concerns homosexuals and bisexuals: 83% would not vote for the incumbent under any circumstances.

Due to the critical economic situation in the country, Bolsonaro has given way among low-income evangelical voters to former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and must use this conservative debate to try to contain them.

“Bolsonaro is trying to scare this evangelical public with strange things, like saying that “your child can become a woman at the age of 7.” Today there is much more respect for the LGBTQ cause among non-ideological evangelicals, but it is clear that they are resisting this topic,” explains Renato Dorgan, specialist in political-electoral marketing, qualitative and quantitative research and co-owner of the Instituto Travessia-Estratégia e Marketing.

Dorgan believes that homosexuality in politics has gradually ceased to be a big taboo, especially after 2015, 2016, which he observes in a qualitative study he conducts with Brazilian voters. According to recent polls, more than half of the population approves of same-sex unions.

“So much so that now Eduardo Leite (governor of Rio Grande do Sul) has declared himself a homosexual, although he is a preliminary presidential candidate,” the specialist noted. Leyte lost the PSDB primary to Sao Paulo Gov. Joao Doria, but did not hesitate to use the sexual option in mid-2021 when he sought accreditation as a candidate for President of the Republic.

Shortly after the announcement of the governor of Rio Grande do Sul, a poll conducted by the Instituto Paraná Pesquisas in July 2021 showed that 75.9% of Brazilians would not change their vote if the presidential candidate was gay: 13.7% admitted, that willing to vote for a candidate decreases, while up to 5.8% increases. The survey was conducted in the municipalities of 27 subjects of the Federation with an error of 2 percentage points. The poll showed that the greatest resistance to a homosexual candidate comes from men over 60 living in the south of the country.

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Far-right uses homophobia as voting strategy, says Gene Willis

“The current government was elected because of homophobia,” former federal MP Jean Willis, who recently joined PT, told DW Brasil. Gay, Willis had direct clashes with Bolsonaro while both were MPs and came to spit in the face of the incumbent when he praised tormentor Brillante Ustra by voting to impeach Dilma Rousseff in 2016. The journalist and writer gave him a mandate for being subjected to death threats and numerous attacks. Willis advocates that “a section of the far right should use homophobia to advance elections,” a topic he has covered in recent books and articles.

He explains that he relinquished his mandate because he was and remains the target of death threats, including from members of his family, in addition to a “heavy and well-funded campaign of slander and assassination” of his reputation through “dirty lies”.

“It was obvious to me that after the cowardly and cruel murder of Mariel Franco, the threats would not be limited to threats. It was just as clear to me – but not to the left in general, and even more so to my old party, unfortunately, despite the consistent denunciations that I made, that this attack was not only on the person or on the person of Jean Willis. It was a brutal attack on everything I represented and represent,” he says.

The fact that he is an openly gay politician and activist, Willis adds, has made him “an easy catalyst for hatred and resentment in a historically homophobic and racist society” along the same lines as trying to destroy Lula’s image.

“Homophobic hostility was more pronounced on the part of heterosexual parliamentarians, especially neo-Pentecostal evangelicals and/or those associated with the security forces. This does not mean that there were no homophobic sentiments on the part of some left-wing parliamentarians and on the part of women on the right,” he said.

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Despite pre-election marketing polls, Willis insists that Brazilians will not elect a gay president today and that those in power now want to prevent this from happening in the future.

“The current government was elected because of homophobia,” says former federal MP Gene Willis.Photo: DW/C. Neher

For a gay senator, “this confrontation takes guts.”

Some scenes were notable: in the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into the Pandemic (CPI da Covid), in the Senate, in which capixaba senator Fabiano Contarato, at the time associated with the Network, spoke about his sexual choices and his family. Married, he and his partner have adopted two children.

“Brazil must begin to reverse centuries of structural politics based on sexism, racism and LGBT phobia. I came into politics believing that it takes courage to stand up to this.”

Contarato, now associated with PT and a possible candidate for the Espirito Santo government acronym, emphasizes that all of the country’s recent gains by the LGBTQIA+ community have been the result of judicial decisions, not political ones.

“The right to adopt is without a doubt one of the most important. It guarantees the basic right of homoaffective families and allows them to form on an equal footing with others. However, the fact that this is not yet a registered right in Brazilian law creates uncertainty about a possible annulment.”

Congress, according to the senator, ignores the debate about the protection and rights of LGBTQI +. “I am the first openly gay senator and I hope to have opened the doors to others in the near future. I humbly hope that our mandate will serve as an inspiration to other gays, lesbians, transgenders and transvestites. …everyone, even if we have to fight a lot harder to get there.”

He cites the adoption of stiffer sentences for those who commit crimes motivated by discrimination or prejudice based on race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin or sexual orientation as successful benchmarks. “The House also passed Bill 2353/2021 of my own authorship, which prohibits discrimination against blood donors based on sexual orientation.”

Brazil |  Senate investigation into the pandemic
“I am the first openly gay senator and I hope to open the doors to others in the near future,” Contarato says.Photo: Leopoldo Silva/Agência Senado

The resistance is higher in the chamber

Already in the House, says Federal MP David Miranda (Psol-RJ), the deputy who accepted the mandate for Wyllys’ vacancy, LGBTQI+ programs are making little headway, especially due to resistance from the evangelical, armed and conservative wing of agribusiness. . According to him, there are about 40 projects in the Chamber that are of interest to this population, 50% with a more progressive approach and 50% with a biased and derogatory look.

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“This agenda is not moving, and if it is brought to plenary session, it will paralyze Congress. Both progressive and conservative MPs are trying to use these agendas to advance themselves. It will definitely happen this year.” Miranda predicts there will be a big debate around a project defining that public toilets are for men and women, thus avoiding embarrassment for Miranda’s transgender people.

The MP is married to journalist Glenn Greenwald, who posted on The Intercept Brasil website messages from former judge Sergio Moro with prosecutors involved in Operation Lava-Jato. The Jato Vase, as the case became known in Brazil, led to the demoralization of Lava-Jato and culminated in the decision of the Federal Supreme Court on Moro’s suspicion of trying Lulu.

Vase Jato, according to the deputy, has made him a specific target for the extreme right. “We received death threats, me, my husband, my children, my mother. We were attacked at all levels. They made fake news with our names, our lives. a welcoming field with great support,” he said.

David Miranda walks daily accompanied by bodyguards. He says he has not received permission from the President of the Chamber, commanded by Bolsonaro MP Artur Lira (PP-AL), to rely on the security of the Legislative Police. “The Chamber stopped giving me security, although I have a positive opinion from the parliamentary commission in Geneva. I pay with my money, I don’t complain. protection in the state of Rio.

DW Brasil asked the President of the Chamber for information on the number of parliamentarians under the protection of the Legislative Police, as they are threatened, and questioned the Miranda case. “For security reasons, information about the escort of parliamentarians is confidential,” the press service of the chamber said by e-mail.

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