As the Two-Year Tradition Goes Brazil Gets a New Chief Justice

    Cezar Peluso

    Cezar PelusoThe Brazilian Supreme Court’s chief Justice serves only a two-year term. So every two years a justice is chosen for the position. However, in accordance with the court’s internal regulations the justice chosen to be Chief Justice is supposed to be the longest serving justice who has not been Chief Justice.

    So, everbody knew before hand that the new Chief Justice is Cezar Peluso, who was appointed by Lula in 2003. He will replace Gilmar Mendes.

    As of April, Supreme Court justice, Ricardo Lewandowski, will be the head of the Brazilian Electoral Board (TSE), which will command the 2010 general elections.

    “I feel certain we are up to the honorable traditions of this court and Electoral Justice in Brazil and that we will be able to provide all citizens and all candidates in the upcoming elections a calm and successful outcome,” commented Lewandowski.

    He and the outgoing president of the TSE, Carlos Ayres Britto, had a difference of opinion regarding voting rights for certain types of prisoners.

    Ayres Britto, based on the fact that Brazilian jurisprudence disfranchises a citizen only if he has been definitively sentenced –  which can often take a very long time, what with the law’s delay and a system that facilitates repeated appeals – decided to allow “temporary” prisoners and youths in juvenile detention the right to vote.

    Lewandowski considered the idea unwieldy – just in São Paulo there are 52,000 temporary prisoners – besides dangerous in some prisons due to the presence of criminal gangs. But Ayres Britto carried the day in a vote by the Supreme Court (STF) and some prisoners will vote.

    Swine Flu

    On another front, the Brazilian senate has approved a Temporary Measure (Medida Provisória – MP 469) providing “extraordinary credit” for the ministries of Health and Transportation totaling 2.168 billion reais.

    Almost all the money, 2.163 billion reais, will go to the Ministry of Health to be used in a preventive vaccination campaign against swine flu.  The campaign begins this month as Brazil moves into autumn. The flu is more dangerous in colder weather.

    ABr

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