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Brazil top court sets 70 day deadline for referendum
July 3, 2013, 9:08 am


President Rousseff made the proposal two weeks after nationwide protests [AP]

The Brazilian Congress faces a 70-day deadline to plan and organise a referendum on political reforms.

Brazil’s top legal authority, the Supreme Electoral Court, set the deadline on Tuesday.

Supreme Electoral Court rulings are not subject to appeal.

President Dilma Rousseff proposed a national referendum at a meeting with Brazil’s governors last week.

The referendum proposal includes five issues in need of reform such as campaign financing, voting by district and an end to voting through secret ballot in congress.

President Rousseff made the proposal two weeks after nationwide protests.

Protesters demanded better public services, less public spending and an end to corruption.

The deadline was announced after the Supreme Electoral Court’s President Carmen Lucia met with the presidents of the 27 regional electoral courts.

The 70-day timeline was decided to allow the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate enough time for the approval of any proposed political reforms after the referendum is held, said the court.

Any changes to electoral laws must be in force a year before general elections in Brazil.

The next general election will be held in Brazil on 5 October 2014.

Following nationwide unrest, the president called for a direct consultation of the electorate, blaming congress for failing to act on political reforms that had been submitted to legislators in recent years.

President Rousseff’s approval rating suffered a serious blow from the protests, dropping from 57 per cent in the first week of June to 30 per cent in the last week of the month, according to the latest Datafolha poll published earlier this week.

Source: Agencies