Party leaders began to reevaluate the plan to approve a new record amount for the fund that will finance the 2024 municipal elections.
In addition to the resistance from members of the government and even senators, the environment of criticism of the political class weighs in after the articulation for an increase in public spending in next year’s electoral race was revealed.
Therefore, the conversations, which involve members of parties from different political camps, are now moving towards trying to reach an agreement around the value of R$4.9 billion.
This is the same level as last year’s national elections, when the dispute was for president, governors, senators and federal and state deputies. The positions of mayor and councilor will now be up for grabs.
The initial proposal from party presidents was that there would be a correction for inflation worth R$4.9 billion, which could be close to R$6 billion. The current idea is to maintain the same value as last year, without adjustment for inflation.
Even so, the electoral fund would represent twice what was used to finance the campaign in the last municipal election, in 2020.
That year, Congress tried to arrange a transfer of almost R$4 billion to the fund. But he had to back down because of the negative repercussions. The value was then established at R$2 billion (an amount that, adjusted for inflation, would now be approximately R$2.5 billion).
Until 2015, large companies, such as banks and construction companies, were mainly responsible for financing candidates. That year, the STF (Supreme Federal Court) prohibited corporate donations on the grounds that economic power unbalanced the democratic game.
For the 2018 elections, the electoral fund was created, which adds to the existing resources of the party fund, currently around R$1.2 billion per year.
The articulation of parties for a new record for the fundão next year generated criticism from members of the government, mainly from the economic area — which is trying to contain the increase in expenses.
President Lula (PT) included a forecast of R$900 million in the 2024 Budget project to finance electoral campaigns. This proposal came from the Ministry of Finance, led by Fernando Haddad (PT), which is against a value exceeding R$4.9 billion.
Criticism also came from senators. The president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG), has expressed behind the scenes the resistance of House leaders to a record fund.
Officially, the argument is that the Senate does not agree with so much money to finance electoral campaigns and that, compared to the last municipal election, the increase in the fund would be absurd. Pacheco and senators have defended the 2020 level, adjusted for inflation.
The 2024 election — of mayors and councilors — arouses more interest from deputies than senators. If a deputy manages to elect an ally to the mayor’s office, he will already have an advantage for 2026, the date of the next general election.
Therefore, Chamber leaders see the Senate’s resistance as another chapter in the dispute for leadership between the two Houses of Congress. The struggle has grown after Lula opened more space in the government for political nominees of deputies.
Another clash factor between the Senate and Chamber is the fight over the division of parliamentary amendments in 2024.
The rapporteur of the 2024 Budget is a deputy, Luiz Carlos Motta (PL-SP). Therefore, Chamber leaders want to increase the share of deputies in committee amendments, which are the resources that each collegiate can send to works and services in states and municipalities.
Committees are groups that bring together a small number of deputies and senators and where projects are discussed before voting in the plenary of the Houses.
In the Jair Bolsonaro (PL) government, Congress created two new types of parliamentary amendments: the one with the stamp of the committees and the rapporteur’s amendment (which was extinguished by the Supreme Court).
The budget for all commission amendments was around R$500 million. This is because, at that period, Congress’s power to allocate money to electoral strongholds of influential parliamentarians was via rapporteur amendments.
Without the rapporteur’s amendments, leaders of the center articulated the increase in resources for another type of amendment, those of the commission, especially the Senate’s Regional Development and Tourism Commission – it concentrates R$ 6.5 billion of the R$ 7.6 billion in amendments that all Congressional committees are entitled to.
The Chamber complains that the Senate got a bigger part of this pie. Therefore, deputies want the 2024 rapporteur to provide more amendments for the Chamber.
There is still no forecast of when the 2024 Budget will be voted on in Congress. This should be until the end of December. It is in the discussion surrounding the Budget that the value of the electoral fund for municipal elections will be established.
After that, the TSE (Superior Electoral Court) divides the fund between the parties. The acronyms with the largest seats in Congress, such as PL and PT, take the largest share.
UNDERSTAND ELECTORAL AND PARTY FUNDS
What is the electoral fund?
It is an instrument that distributes public resources to political parties in an election year, aiming to finance campaigns for positions in dispute
Is it the only source of funds for campaigns?
No. Parties can also use resources from the party fund, another type of public funding to subsidize the functioning of parties, distributed monthly
Are there other forms of financing possible?
Candidates can collect donations from individuals, limited to 10% of the person’s income in the previous year, in addition to self-financing their campaigns – with a maximum of 10% of the spending ceiling, which varies depending on the position being contested. Corporate donations have been prohibited since 2015
How is the electoral fund distributed?
The distribution of public campaign funds between parties follows the following criteria, taking into account the size of the benches based on the result of the previous election:
- two% distributed equally among all subtitles registered
- 35% consider the vote of each party that had at least one deputy elected in the last election for the Chamber
- 48% consider the number of deputies elected by each party in the last electionwithout taking into account changes throughout the legislature
- 15% consider the number of senators elected and those who were in the middle of their term on the day of the last election
Why do parliamentarians seek to increase the value of the electoral fund?
Leaders involved in the discussion argue that the bottom needs to rise, as the number of candidates and vacancies will be even greater