By Mary Carroll, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Minister Cármen Lúcia, president of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), said on Friday at the Regional Electoral Court meeting in Rio Grande do Norte that the court “no longer tolerates Corruption. We have to enforce the law.” However, Lúcia admitted the Electoral Court will face challenges in applying the Ficha Limpa (Clean Records) law.

Cármen Lúcia became the first female president of the Tribunal Superior Eleitoral (TSE, Supreme Court) in April 2012, Brazil News
Cármen Lúcia became the first female president of the Tribunal Superior Eleitoral (TSE, Supreme Court) in April 2012, photo by José Cruz/ABr.

The law was passed to prevent politicians, who have been found guilty of corruption, from running for public office, and it will be enforceable in the election this year.

The Clean Record Act was passed in June 2010, however after being challenged in the court system, the STF ruled it would not apply to elections of that year.

As a result, candidates that were involved in corruption and who were initially barred based on the law, were later allowed to take their positions.

Despite this slow start, Lúcia remains adamant that the court will enforce the law this year. “I put myself at the disposal of any judge at any time, in order to meet the demands.”

The minister reassured that the judges would have security to work in peace enabling them to focus on curbing abuses and non-compliance with the law. “Brazilian democracy is by the Brazilian people and we are entrusted to secure that right.”

According to O Globo, a report earlier this year showed that 274 out of 5,563 elected mayors were removed from office in 2008, almost five percent, raising alarm over monetary losses to the state resulting from re-elections. In the first half of 2012 there were 176 re-elections carried out costing R$4 million, and so now any mayor revoked will be charged the cost of the new election held in the city.

Mayor of Oeiras (Piauí) and former deputy, Benedito de Sá Carvalho (PSB), is one of the first to have to pay back R$20,000 to the state for expenses in the TRE-election held in the city in November 2010.

The TSE has also made an effort to make things more transparent to aid the fight against corruption. In May the Supreme Court decided to disclose the salaries of ministers and servants of the court over the internet. Minister Cármen Lúcia’s salary totaled at R$33.136,65 per month before deductions.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.

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