Gilmar and Moraes come together to shake up the board for vacancies in the STF

In an interview on Sunday with the newspaper O Globo, the minister of the Federal Supreme Court Gilmar Mendes launched the name of the president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco, for a vacancy in the Court.

“Actually, I even think it would be good if we had names like Rodrigo Pacheco on the Supreme Court,” he said not casually when criticizing ongoing discussions in the Senate to limit the terms of STF judges.

For palatial ministers and parliamentarians from the government base, Gilmar’s speech confirms a movement that they had already been detecting: the attempt by members of the STF and Senate leaders to pressure President Lula to leave “to politics” the choice of name for the second vacancy on the Court —in exchange for support for the nomination of lawyer Cristiano Zanin for the first vacancy, which will open until May with the retirement of Ricardo Lewandowski.

In other words, members of the STF, such as Gilmar Mendes and Alexandre de Moraes, would accept the burden of carrying a “heavy” name like Zanin —Lula’s lawyer and his defender in Lava Jato— to Lewandowski’s vacancy, but provided that, with that, it was clear that the presidential “quota” would be exhausted. And the next vacancy, to be opened in October with the retirement of Rosa Weber, was the result of negotiations between the president and the STF and the Senate.

Before Gilmar Mendes “launched” Pacheco’s candidacy for the STF, Alexandre de Moraes had already given effusive demonstrations of appreciation for the president of the Senate — the only one, according to the Constitution, with powers to initiate an impeachment process against a minister of the Supreme Court.

Earlier this month, for example, Moraes, who is also president of the Superior Electoral Court, decorated Pacheco with the Order of Merit medal for his performance “in defense of democracy”.

Ricardo Lewandowski is another minister sympathetic to Pacheco, but he is leaving and already has his candidate to replace him, the former pupil and former general secretary of the STF and TSE, Manoel Carlos de Almeida Neto.

The name of Pacheco, in addition to being an alternative that unites Gilmar and Moraes (who until recently had as their favorites, respectively, Bruno Dantas, president of the Federal Court of Auditors, and Luis Felipe Salomão, minister of the Superior Court of Justice), would give prestige to the Senate, where Lula has a fragile majority and is unlikely to want to pick a fight – just the one he is already having with Arthur Lira in the Chamber.

In short, the movement detected by members of the presidential circle is siege to Lula: if he chooses Zanin for the first vacancy, “everyone will understand”, as the president said he was right. For the second wave, however, understanding ends. And then it’s time to negotiate.

It remains to be seen whether the thesis will convince Lula, by law and right, the only voter in this dispute.

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