Starting today (3), the season of party swapping between federal deputies is open. It is the so-called “party window”, which opens for 30 days in each electoral cycle and allows the change of party without this implying party infidelity and consequent loss of mandate.
The period of one month is provided for in the Elections Law (Law 9.504/1997, Article 93-A). According to the legislation, the window opens every election year, always six months before the election. This year, the party change period is open from March 3 to April 1.
The window was regulated and inserted into the electoral calendar in the 2015 reform. Its creation allows for the relocation of party forces before the test at the polls, according to the political conveniences of the moment. The movements serve as a thermometer of the candidacies, guiding the reading that each parliamentarian makes of the electoral panorama and the polls of voting intentions.
This year, for example, there is an expectation that a relevant number of deputies will leave União Brasil, the current largest bench in the Chamber, as a result of the merger between DEM and PSL. Part must follow President Jair Bolsonaro, joining the PL. Since the party window was created, 275 exchanges of captions have been registered between deputies with current mandates, according to data released by the Superior Electoral Court (TSE).
The period authorized for the exchange of parties makes an exception in the understanding that, in proportional elections (deputies and councilors), the mandate belongs to the party and not to the parliamentarian, as interpreted by the TSE.
This year, only deputies can change their acronyms. This is because in 2018 the TSE established that only the legislator who is at the end of his term is entitled to enjoy the party window. In this way, the current councilors will only be able to change their legend before the next municipal elections, in 2024.
The party window is one of the only possibilities for deputies to change clubs during their term of office. The others are: the creation of an acronym; end or merger of the party; deviation from the party program or serious personal discrimination. Any change of legend that does not fit these reasons may lead to the loss of the mandate.