The agenda proposed by the opposition to react to the advance of operations by the Federal Police (PF) against parliamentarians – authorized by Minister Alexandre de Moraes, of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) – is already met with resistance from the presidents of the Chamber, Arthur Lira (PP-AL) , and from the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG). It is revealed by the silence they have maintained so far in the face of facts that oppositionists classify as an affront to Congress and persecution of the right. Despite this, experts believe that, even limited, the advancement of this reaction may be due to the broader political context.
The projects that are being processed in both Houses, and which would serve as a restraint to the Judiciary on the actions of the Legislature, were presented to Pacheco by the opposition senators this Wednesday (31), with the expectation that the President of Congress will consult with Lira on the opposition’s appeals and considerations and give a position by next Friday (2) on which items could be part of the voting priorities, to be approved this semester.
Among the proposals is the forwarding by the Chamber of the end of the privileged forum, approved five years ago in the Senate. Others deal with limiting the monocratic powers of STF ministers, their mandate and legislative authorization for police operations in Congress. There are also proposals already supported by Lira, in the case of limiting which parties can provoke the Supreme Court to question the constitutionality of laws approved by Parliament, and the end of re-election, supported by Pacheco.
The leader of the opposition in the Senate, Rogério Marinho (PL-RN), made a point of highlighting the institutional and non-partisan nature of the agenda offered, which seeks the “rebalancing of powers and harmony in the Republic”. Although the senators did not reveal the entire list of suggestions, it is known that a large part of it is made up of projects already presented and that need an agreement between the two Houses to become a reality. “The PF’s operations are just part of the context. The idea is an agenda that defends the prerogatives of exercising the parliamentary mandate, the inviolability of mandates,” said Marinho.
The operation that targeted Rio councilor Carlos Bolsonaro (Republicans) also caused concern because it showed a close approach by two other parliamentarians, his brothers and also privileged parliamentarians, deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro and senator Flávio Bolsonaro, in addition to former president Jair Bolsonaro, who no longer has a special jurisdiction.
Internal power play conditions the reaction
For Carol Venuto, partner at the consultancy Ética Intelligence Política, the operations involving the deputies of the Rio de Janeiro PL Carlos Jordy, leader of the opposition, and Alexandre Ramagem gave “new gas” to the tensions between the Legislative and Judiciary throughout 2023 and which will unfold in this year. In any case, she understands that the reactions of the presidents of the Chamber and the Senate continue to be framed by the power game that each one plays within Congress itself.
But the search for Lira and Pacheco’s adherence to a consensual and coordinated reaction against the tightening of the judicial siege on parliamentarians close to former president Jair Bolsonaro (PL) has already suffered a first shock shortly after the episodes involving Jordy and Ramagem, with the clash – argument between Pacheco and the president of the PL, Valdemar Costa Neto, who called the president of Congress “lax” and “missing”. In response, the senator demanded from the party leader an effort to approve in the Chamber the Proposed Amendment to the Constitution (PEC) that limits the monocratic powers of the STF, which has already passed in the Senate, in addition to insinuating Costa Neto’s contradiction in the way of addressing abuses of magistrates.
“The presidents of the Houses, who competed for prominence last year due to their level of influence in the government and within Congress, will possibly come together on a common agenda to restore the autonomy of the Legislature in relation to the Judiciary”, highlights Carol Venuto.
But the way they will conduct this onslaught will depend on the arrangements they make to continue influencing the political arena from 2025 onwards. While Pacheco operates together with his main ally and candidate to succeed him as president of the Senate, Davi Alcolumbre (União Brasil-AP) , to consolidate the opposition’s support for a devastating single ticket, Lira, in turn, needs to consolidate her dominance over the Chamber, making her successor. Pacheco and Alcolumbre know that they need almost 30 votes from the opposition to guarantee a consecrating vote at the beginning of 2025.
Leonardo Barreto, political scientist and director of Vector Research, believes that the advances in the Senate’s agenda to contain the Judiciary should finally be continued in the Chamber from this year onwards. Despite the great leadership that Lira exercises over Centrão, the expert understands that right-wing and center-right deputies, connected to their electorate, will redouble the demand for the President of the House to have a proactive attitude on this issue.
“Some signs began to emerge, including with regard to the penal code”, illustrates Barreto. “Leaders, like the one from the ruralist bench, make it clear that the alliance between Planalto and the STF requires a reaction from Congress,” he said.
Moraes’ actions are seen as a risk to democracy
The eight senators who met for two and a half hours with Pacheco this Wednesday (31) expressed special concern about the centrality of “abuses” committed by a single STF minister – Alexandre de Moraes -, such as the Inquiry of Fake News, which is approaching its fifth anniversary. In this vein, they point out several irregularities that, in the name of exceptionalism, made disrespect for legislation the rule and indicate Moraes’ actions as a threat to democracy.
“We have a judge who issues political opinions, guides the Executive, criticizes initiatives for appeasement and carries out original and derivative investigations without any prospect of completion”, observed Marinho.
For him, Congress must react to “cease inquisitorial processes and allow the opposition to fulfill its role of proposing alternatives and even criticizing the Judiciary, as occurs in any free country.”