Photo: Fillipe Sampaio/STF
Since his name first appeared as a possible alternative for the presidency, nine years ago, the Chief of Federal Court of Justice, Joaquim Barbosa, reacts in a negative way to calls for his candidacy, stating he has no interest in the position and even that Brazil is not yet ready to elect a black president.
But the fact is that every time a new research points to the possibility that President Dilma Rousseff being reelected, even in the first round, with current known opponents, Barbosa is remembered as the name able to make more difficult the path to the Workers’ Party win four more years ahead of the government of Brazil.
Two studies published this weekend by different research institutes (Ibope and Datafolha), show Rousseff comfortably ahead in the polls, over 40% of the preference of the electorate, with the decline in citations to the names of former governor of Minas Gerais, Aécio Neves , a traditional opponent, and the governor of Pernambuco and friend of former President Lula, Eduardo Campos, who became the most popular governor in the country thanks the investments of Central Govern in the state where Lula was born, and that until last year formally supported the PT but opted to launch himself candidate for his own party.
In this scenario, Rousseff apparently have high chances of getting a second term without major difficulties, unless the economy faces problems such as uncontrolled growth of inflation, which so far seems unlikely, rising unemployment or a repeat of last year’s massive popular demonstrations against the realization of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, which made the president’s popularity plummet, in a social movement that has not yet been fully decoded by the media and the social scientists.
For these reasons, the possible candidacy of Barbosa has been monitored by the government and inflated by the opposition. One of polls released these days, showed that only if both the President of the Supreme Court and former Minister of Environment, Marina Silva decided to run for presidency, there would be good chances to take the presidential elections in the second round.
Despite having received twenty million votes in the last election, preventing further Rousseff won the first round, Marina Silva, a former minister of Lula, who ran for the Green Party in 2010, is unlikely to be a candidate for his current legend, Brazilian Socialist party, which is led by Campos. Unable to fulfill the legal requirements to register her own party, Sustainability Network, Silva joined the PSB to probably be a candidate for vice president. Even if he confirms his few chances, Campos is unlikely to give way in favor to his new companion. Despite being defeated, he will become more nationally known and can shed candidate again in 2018, when Rousseff will not run.
In the case of Barbosa, a possible candidacy depends solely on him and his ability to get a party front that allows him to have good electoral chances until the 5th of April, when the deadline expires for judges, who want to contest elections, depart from their positions. What has caused increasing speculation about his name in recent months.
But, after all, why a federal judge is considered the best alternative in the opposition to win the presidency of Brazil? Primarily responsible for the condemnation of mensaleiros, how are known the political and financial stakeholders involved in what is considered the largest political scandal in the history of the country, Barbosa achieved the status of guardian of ethics and the Republicans practices reporting and presiding over the trial that put behind bars well known names such as former Minister José Dirceu, friend of Lula and one the PT founders, and former party president, José Genoíno, a hero of the Brazilian left for their active participation in the struggle for the democratization of the country during the dictatorship military that ruled Brazil between 1964 and 1985.
Regardless of whether or not belief in the guilt of the accused, before Barbosa launches a task ahead of the Rapporteur of the case, no reputable lawyer Brazil believed in the condemnation of the principals names involved in the scandal, especially Dirceu, against whom, indeed, never was showed any proof of his involvement.
But the ability to connect facts in Barbosa, his extreme rigor in law enforcement and – accuse their detractors – the little respect to the rights of defense led to unprecedented condemnation of the people who occupied important positions in the power structure chain. The heroic image of Barbosa was crowned with his lone decision to initiate the arrests on holiday November 15, Day of the Proclamation of the Republic, when no other minister was in the Supreme Court and he was able to capitalize on the images of politicians being conducted to prison.
Barbosa, who is now the biggest political problem of the PT, was led to the largest court of the judiciary at the initiative of the PT … In Brazil, the 11 Supreme Court judges are appointed to office by the President, to the extent that former judges will be retiring, usually when they turn 70, maximum age prescribed by law for the exercise of public service in non-elected positions.
And Barbosa was the first Minister of the Supreme being appointed by President Lula, yet in his first year at office. At the time, Lula claimed to be necessary to take for the first time a black person to join the main house of the judiciary in Brazil. If racism is, effectively, an obstacle to the political pretensions of Barbosa, it is still early to know. But one of the polls puts him third in the contest with 14% of the vote, behind President Dilma Rousseff and former minister Marina Silva.
It is not clear if the judge will either abandon the apex of his career to rival any another election, as the state government of Rio de Janeiro or Senate, as speculated. The only certainty is that with an increasingly pale opposition, the major difficulties faced by the PT, in the justice or in the elections are related to people who have become politically important thanks to the own party, directly or indirectly.