STF has majority of votes against “moderating power” of the Armed Forces


The Federal Supreme Court (STF) formed this Monday (1st) a majority of 6 votes to 0 against the interpretation that the Armed Forces can exercise “moderating power” in the country.

The majority was formed with the vote given by minister Gilmar Mendes. The votes of five ministers are missing.

When speaking out against the thesis of moderating power, Mendes said that the Court is “reaffirming what should be obvious”. “The hermeneutics of the bayonet does not fit into the Constitution. Brazilian society has nothing to gain from the politicization of the barracks, nor does the 1988 Constitution admit it,” he stated.

The Supreme Court judges an action filed in 2020 by the PDT to prevent Article 142 of the Constitution from being used to justify the use of the Army, Navy and Air Force to interfere in the functioning of democratic institutions.

The thesis of “moderating power” was touted by former president Jair Bolsonaro to justify possible measures against other Powers during his government.

Understand the judgment

The ministers judge the action definitively. In June 2020, the case’s rapporteur, minister Luiz Fux, granted the injunction to confirm that Article 142 does not authorize intervention by the Armed Forces in the Three Powers. According to the text of the provision, the military is under the authority of the President of the Republic and is intended to defend the country and guarantee constitutional powers.

So far, the vote of Fux, rapporteur of the case, prevails. For the minister, the power of the Armed Forces is limited and excludes any interpretation that allows interference in the functioning of the Three Powers and cannot be used by the President of the Republic against the powers.

“The institutional mission of the Armed Forces in defending the homeland, guaranteeing constitutional powers and guaranteeing law and order does not accommodate the exercise of moderating power between the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary powers”, he stated.

In addition to Fux, ministers Luís Roberto Barroso, André Mendonça, Edson Fachin, Flávio Dino and Gilmar Mendes also voted in the same direction.

In his vote, Dino stated that there is no “military power” in the country.

“I remember that there is no military power in our constitutional regime. Power is only civil, made up of three branches anointed by popular sovereignty, directly or indirectly. The military function is subordinate to such constitutional powers, as stated in article 142 of the Magna Carta”, he concluded.

The trial is carried out in the virtual plenary, a modality in which the ministers enter the votes in the Court’s electronic system and there is no in-person deliberation. Voting will end on April 8th.

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: STF majority votes moderating power Armed Forces



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