By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Less than fifteen days after one of the fiercest presidential campaigns in Brazilian history, president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro and members of opposing political parties are currently on the same side as they criticize a bill approved by the Senate to grant Supreme Court Judges a 16.4 percent salary increase.
“Since it came into the (Senate) agenda, the government can veto this adjustment because, after all, this is the class that earns the most in Brazil, and complicates for things for us. It’s in (President) Temer’s hands. I am not Temer, if I were, you know what my position would be,” said president-elect Jair Bolsonaro in an interview with RecordTV after the Senate vote.
The bill calls for a raise for the eleven members of the Supreme Court and the current head of the Federal Public Ministry, Raquel Dodge, from the current R$33.7 thousand to R$39 thousand per month.
The raise, say analysts, has a cascade effect on the Judiciary officials which could cost the government over R$4 billion per year. Critics to the bill state that the decision also opens the way for raises in the salaries of Congressional representatives and the President himself.
Conservative group MBL (Free Brazil Movement) filed a public action suit against the raise, asking for an annulment of the vote stating that it ‘violates the principle of morality’.
“Undoubtedly, the measure approved in the Senate violates not only the principle of morality, but the morale of every worker, every Brazilian forced to live on a meager minimum wage of less than a thousand reais (per month) and to bear a tax burden to pay privileges and benefits to the high clergy, specifically, in this case, to the eminent ministers of the Supreme Court,” says the suit.
But conservatives were not the only ones criticizing the Senate decision and asking President Temer to veto the bill.
“I voted against the salary increase for the judiciary and the Public Prosecutor’s Office. The people want a new way of doing politics. If the government demands sacrifices from the population, it should set an example,” said Senator Vanessa Grazziotin, of Brazil’s Communist Party (PCdoB).
Public opinion was also swift. By the weekend the hashtags #AumentoNao (#NoRaise) and #VetaTemer (#VetoTemer) were trending on Twitter.
Centrist party NOVO went to the Internet to get public support to pressure President Temer to veto the new bill. The petition against the increase was signed by over one million Brazilians in the first 24 hours it was available and the tally at 10AM on Monday morning was already over 2.5 million signatures.
According to local media President Michel Temer wants the STF to eliminate the current monthly housing stipend to STF judges before it sanctions the raise.