Brazil is a democracy where 135 million electors vote to elect the chiefs of the Executive Branch and the members of the Legislative Branch. As a federal state, elections are held periodically for four-year terms in the three levels of the Brazilian Federation: the federal union, the states and municipalities. There are 35 registered political parties. In local elections, the national amount of candidates is more than 400.000. Public funding is given to political parties and campaigns, TV and radio time slots are given for political propaganda (for political parties and campaigns) and a complex web of rules is aimed at avoiding the abuse of political or economic power and to safeguard the equality of conditions in the dispute for power.
Due to the historical concern of avoiding electoral fraud, the administration of the elections is under the Judiciary Branch’s responsibility. It registers the electors and candidates, receives and counts the votes and finally announces the winners. It is also the Electoral Justice that judges all the cases concerning the electoral process, with candidates and political parties having the right to bring matters to its examination. The electors have not been granted the same right, though.
To represent the electors before the Electoral Justice, to fight against the abuse of political or economic power and to claim the obedience to the electoral rules are duties that have been given to the Electoral Prosecution Service. This is an unique institution, considering comparative law, and its power has been granted by the same historical reasons that culminated in the establishment of the Electoral Justice. The electoral function is performed in cooperation by the Federal Prosecution Service and by the Prosecution Services of the States, and they fulfill their duty in a non-partisan way, taking into account solely the interest of all citizens in fair elections.
The Electoral Prosecution Service has been granted the same guarantees as those granted to the Judiciary Branch, among which are independence and the assurance that the prosecutor will not be removed. The rotation of Prosecutors in electoral duties (two-year terms, renewable for only once) was thought to avoid personalisms.
Brasilia sieges the Prosecutor General and the Deputy Prosecutor General before the Superior Electoral Court. In each State of the Federation there is one Electoral Circuit Prosecutor, who is necessarily a member of the Federal Prosecution Service. He or she acts before the Electoral Circuit Court. Finally, there is the Electoral Attorney, member of the State Prosecution Service of the State, acting before the Electoral Judges.
The Electoral Circuit Prosecutor’s Office in São Paulo is the biggest of its kind in Brazil, due to the size of São Paulo’s, the most populous and economic developed state in our federation. It analyses every lawsuit that are judged by the Circuit Electoral Court of São Paulo. In state and national elections, it is a legitimate party to file lawsuits against any illicit fact or situation concerning the elections.
It is duty of the Prosecutor’s Office to oversee the respect to the electoral law and fight any kind of abuse, but it is also its duty to seek the equality among all electors, which includes indigenous populations and “quilombolas”,1 people with disabilities, and remand detainees (pre trial arrest). Furthermore, we seek to erradicate gender, racial and ethnic inequalities in the electoral process. Thus, we are proud to present the “Map of gender and racial inequalities in the elections”, made by this Electoral Circuit Prosecutor’s Office, with relevant data about the issue.
We are insterested in exchanging views and experiences with electoral services and prosecution services from all around the world!
Luiz Carlos dos Santos Gonçalves
Electoral Circuit Prosecutor
Pedro Barbosa Pereira Neto
Deputy Electoral Circuit Prosecutor
1 Communities founded by people of African origins, most of which were originally escaped slaves.