By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – For the next two weeks, candidates running for this year’s mayoral elections throughout Brazil are not allowed to be arrested or detained until election day (October 2nd), unless they are caught in the act of committing crime.
“This measure seeks to protect mainly the applicant’s right to continue conducting their campaign and also to promote balance in the dispute between the candidates,” says Judge Admar Gonzaga, of the Supreme Electoral Board Tribunal Superior Eleitoral (TSE).
The measure, which took effect on Saturday, September 17th, aims to guarantee that local authorities and officials do not attempt to interfere in the electoral dispute. “Prison (of candidate) can not used as a political embarrassment taking the candidate away from the campaign,” stated Gonzaga.
According to Agencia Brasil, however, it is not uncommon for candidates who have not committed any violations to be arrested during this special period of protection.
In the 2014 general elections at least eighty candidates were arrested on the day of the election charged with the irregular transport of voters to the polling stations and having allies at stations giving out propaganda.
In Rio de Janeiro, federal troops have been ordered to remain in the city after the Olympic and Paralympic Games to ensure security during the elections.
According to the TSE President, Judge Gilmar Mendes, the decision of the Ministry of Defense to maintain troops in the city after the end of the Paralympics ‘ends the concern of the Electoral Court that the withdrawal of forces could stimulate crime, disturbing the electoral environment’.