End of an Era: The Impending Close of Augusto Aras’ Tenure as Brazil’s Attorney General
The Succession of Power
As the term of Brazil’s Attorney General, Augusto Aras, draws to a close on September 26, 2023, the nation is looking towards the future. After serving four years in office, the task of appointing Aras’ successor lands in the hands of the current President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. During the transition period, Elizeta Ramos, the Vice President of the Superior Council of the Federal Public Ministry (CSMPF), will shoulder the responsibilities of the role.
President Lula has indicated a potential departure from the traditional triple list presented by the National Association of Federal Prosecutors (ANPR). He is reportedly considering two candidates for the position: sub-prosecutors Paulo Gonet Branco and Antonio Bigonha.
Contenders for the Role
Branco, 62, brings a wealth of knowledge to the table as a Doctor of Law, State, and Constitution from the University of Brasília (UNB). He is the co-founder of the Brazilian Institute of Public Law, which has since evolved into the Brazilian Institute of Teaching, Development, and Research (IDP). Currently, he serves as the Vice Attorney General for Electoral Affairs, and his candidacy is supported by prominent figures including Alexandre de Moraes and Gilmar Mendes.
Bigonha, at 58, is a law graduate from UNB and has been a part of the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) since 1992. He currently holds the position of Sub-prosecutor General of the Republic and has recently garnered support from government members.
Reflecting on Aras’ Tenure
During his time in office, Aras was not shy about expressing his desire for reappointment. He frequently utilized social media to share accolades from judiciary members for his work as Attorney General. However, his tenure was not without criticism, with detractors pointing out his perceived inaction during the Bolsonaro government.
Financially, Aras’ tenure saw an influx of approximately R$ 3.2 billion in 37 plea bargain agreements, and the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) recouped about R$ 1.1 billion since September 2019. Additionally, the PGR received roughly R$ 5.1 billion in fines from September 2019 – August 2023.
Aras’ Impact on the PGR
Aras’ leadership played a significant role in reducing the backlog of cases at the Supreme Federal Court (STF), with numbers dropping from 1,651 to 368. His tenure also saw the most Direct Actions of Unconstitutionality presented at the Court since 2001, with 208 of 272 judgments ruled in his favor.
A review released by the MPF on September 21 provided a detailed breakdown of these figures and other statistics related to Aras’ tenure. The organization also published a legal compendium featuring Aras’ statements and data on the PGR’s performance in various sectors.
As the term of Augusto Aras comes to an end, Brazil looks forward to the new era of leadership in the Attorney General’s office. The legacy left behind by Aras will undoubtedly influence the strategies and decisions of his successor.
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