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Brazilian Minister Joaquim Barbosa Announces Early Retirement from Supreme Federal Court

05/30/2014 - 09h56

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FROM BRASILIA

The Brazilian minister Joaquim Barbosa, 59, who was the rapporteur of the largest criminal prosecution case to ever go through Brazil's Supreme Federal Court (STF) and the most controversial president in the history of this court, has announced on Thursday, May 29th, that he is to retire and will step down from this court in June.

Barbosa was appointed by the former president of Brazil, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, and is the first black man to chair this court.

He became known as the rapporteur who carried out the mensalão trial, which debunked the former leadership of the Worker's Party (PT). This included the all-powerful former minister José Dirceu, who ended up in jail.

The outcome of this trial made Barbosa so popular passers-by would applaud him on the street, and this also created speculations concerning his political ambitions.

Because he is not a member of any political party he is not able to step forward as a candidate in the upcoming elections in October. Nevertheless, his support is sought after by the opposition of the president Dilma Rousseff in this year's electoral race.

Barbosa announced the decision to retire at the beginning of this Thursday's court session. "I am requesting my retirement from public service after almost 41 years", he said.

"I was lucky to take part in this court in what is its most fertile moment, of greatest creativity and relevance to the politico-institutional scenery of our country."

Barbosa has stepped down after 11 years at the court before completing his two year mandate as its president, which would run until November this year.

He could act as minister until reaching the age of compulsory retirement, in 2024 when he will be 70 years old.

Translated by CRISTIANE COSTA LIMA

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