BRASILIA – Judge Rosa Weber will become the first woman to oversee a presidential election in Brazil after she was appointed on Tuesday president of the Superior Electoral Court, the body in charge of organizing the polls scheduled for Oct. 7.
Weber, also just the second woman to preside over the country’s electoral court in its 73-year history, assumed her new position for a period of two years in an official ceremony in which she said “democracy is a daily and permanent conquest” that is strengthened through elections.
The judge also expressed her concerns over Brazil’s corruption scandals in recent years that she said had generated “a moment of undesirable disenchantment and discredit of political activity, which is essential for democracy and must have its respectability restored.”
With the appointment of the 69-year-old judge, all three main courts of Brazil are now presided over by women, as well as the Public Prosecutor’s Office which has Raquel Dodge as its head prosecutor.
Judge Carmen Lucia Antunes, who assumed presidency of the electoral court between 2012-2013 – a period that did not coincide with a presidential election –, currently presides over the Supreme Federal Court, while Judge Laurita Vaz heads the Superior Court of Justice.
One of Weber’s responsibilities as the electoral court’s president will be to decide on the candidacy of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is set to register himself on Thursday under the Workers’ Party.
According to a law decreed in 2010 by Lula himself when he was still in power, a person with any criminal conviction that is upheld on appeal cannot run for public office.
Although Lula was sentenced to 12 years in prison, the party still named him its presidential candidate.
Once Lula’s candidacy has been formalized, the seven members of the electoral court will analyze the case, but according to the majority of the jurists, his candidacy will likely be disqualified.
The electoral court will announce its decision by Sept. 17 – or 20 days before the elections.