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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The Supreme Court in Brazil has decided to accept the request of an annulment of the nomination of Wellington Cesar Lima e Silva to the position of Justice Minister in the Rousseff Administration. Lima e Silva was nominated last week after former Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo left the office to become the country’s Attorney General.

Brazil, Brasilia, Justice Ministry
Jose Eduardo Cardozo during ceremony of swearing in of new Justice Minister, Wellington Cesar Lima e Silva, photo by Valter Campanato/Agencia Brasil.

According to the Supreme Court Justices, Lima e Silva was not eligible to take office because he holds a permanent position with the Bahia state Public Prosecutor’s Office.

“In taking over a position in the executive branch, the Public Prosecutor shall act as subordinate to the (Executive) Administration. This weakens the judicial institution, which can be a potential target of political interests and be submitted to personal interests of its own members, “said Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes when giving his vote. Mendes concluded that the Justices had no alternative but to vote for the ineligibility of Lima e Silva.

To become Justice Minister, therefore the official will have to retire from the lifelong position in the judiciary system. The Justices stated that members of the public prosecutors’ office may only accept nominations within their own agencies and are not allowed to be part of both the Judicial and the Executive branches. To be eligible for the cabinet position, concluded ten out of eleven Justices, Lima e Silva must resign his current position as a public prosecutor.

In his first appearance as Attorney General, Jose Eduardo Cardozo defended the President’s choice, stating that the decision would impact many other members of the prosecutors’ office who currently hold executive positions in federal and state governments. “All will have to return to their (judiciary) functions, breaking up teams, hindering important administrative structures public security,” Agencia Brasil reported Cardozo as stating.

To the media, Lima e Silva said he would have to weigh the consequences of leaving a permanent, lifelong position in the judiciary to taken on a temporary position as one of President Rousseff’s cabinet members. He told journalists that he would only make a decision after speaking to President Rousseff.

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