According to a report just published by daily newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, a third of the Brazilian Senate members face some kind of judicial demand, be it criminal, common or electoral law .
Of the 81 members (3 for each of the 27 states), 27 Senators face charges or have been indicted by Brazil's Supreme Federal Tribunal, (Supreme Court), the only body that can press charges against legislators. As elected members other crimes refer to violations of the electoral legislation.
Of those indicted, 17 belong to parties which support the administration of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and the rest to groupings from the opposition.
Folha points out that the list does not include crimes committed as simple citizens or those brought against Senators by political rivals.
The revelation that 33% of elected Brazilian senators face different charges and/or indictments came to light when the Upper House is undergoing one of its major institutional crises of its history, which was triggered at the end of last year.
The crisis peaked last week when the Senate Ethics Council shelved several charges against the president of the Senate, and a crucial ally of Lula's ruling coalition, José Sarney.
Exchanges in the floor with the use of highly offensive and derogatory language plus threats of outbursts of violence forced the Senate to shut off the screening of sessions.
Compared to Lower House members who are elected for four year mandates, Senators, three per state, enjoy more ample benefits and are elected for eight years.
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