Although municipal election dates remain uncertain in Brazil, pre-candidates for mayor and city council are set to launch their online crowdfunding campaigns a week from now, on May 15. Despite being geared to fit the constraints imposed by the pandemic, the practice is not new in the country — it was first authorized by the Supreme Electoral Court in 2018, and candidates were able to raise around BRL 20 million (USD 3.5 million) throughout Brazil in the run-up to the election.
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, the main question raised by the parties has not to do with the technicalities behind these campaigns: “How do you ask for donations during a public health crisis?
While Congress discusses redirecting part of the BRL 1.7-billion electoral fund to COVID-19-related measures, these online crowdfunding campaigns could become a means for candidates to raise donations to help the fight against the pandemic. Parties across the political spectrum have indicated they will donate the amount raised to fight the spread of the disease in the country, newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported.
System error prevents unelected ex-candidates from receiving emergency aid
A system error in the public bank Caixa Econômica is preventing people who ran in past elections but were not elected, from receiving the BRL 600 emergency aid paid by the federal government to unemployed and self-employed workers. By law, emergency aid does not cover those with an elective mandate, work in the public administration, or already receive Social Security benefits, such as pensions.
As the data stems from ex-candidates, a question to the Superior Electoral Court was made by the one of the Associação Visibilidade Feminina–– an organization devoted to increasing the presence of women across Brazil’s still largely male-dominated political system. “It is very strange that the simple condition of substitution could have prevented access to the Emergency Aid benefit. These people are unemployed and do not hold an elective office, even if they are alternates – candidates that are not elected but can assume the job in the case of resignations,” says the institution’s lawyer, Paula Bernardelli.