By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled the Ficha Limpa, (or “Clean Record”) anti-corruption law to be constitutional, announcing that it would be enforced for the upcoming municipal elections in October. The law – which prohibits politicians with criminal convictions or a record of political charges – from taking office for eight years, first came out in 2010.
At the time, the law was challenged by some politicians who claimed that it offended the principle of the presumption of innocence, and that it would be unconstitutional to punish people for actions committed before the law was created. However, yesterday the vote was passed by seven votes to four.
Joaquim Barbosa, Rosa Weber, Cármen Lúcia, Ricardo Lewandowski and Carlos Ayres Britto all voted in favor of the law in its entireity. Marcus Aurelius and Luiz Fux also agreed, while raising some minor caveats. Cezar Peluso, Celso de Mello, Dias Toffoli and Gilmar Mendes voted against the law.
According to the government communications bureau, Agência Brasil, yesterday’s ruling is being seen as a victory for the public whose support brought the law to Congress in the first place, after it was signed by 1.3 million voters.
The President of the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB), Ophir Cavalcante, said, “This will not put an end to all the ills of Brazilian politics, however, this is a step forward. And those careerists who want to make their mandates an extension of their private interests will think twice, because the punishment will be severe.”
He continued, “The next step will be for the Supreme Court to put an end to private financing for electoral campaigns.”
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