Under the command of Nunes Marques e Mendonça, TSE of 2026 already provokes debate

More than three years before the next presidential election, the formation of the TSE (Superior Electoral Court) in 2026 is already provoking debate in the legal world. If last year the Court was made up of ministers who imposed defeat on former President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) in judgments that outlined the course of the campaign, in the next national election the scenario may be different.

By the rule of rotation between ministers, the forecast is that Kassio Nunes Marques will be president of the TSE in 2026. André Mendonça would be the vice president. The two were Bolsonaro’s only appointments to compose the STF (Federal Supreme Court). The forecast is being commented on by superior court ministers behind the scenes, with speculations about the decision-making profile of the TSE in the next election.

Among STF sources, there is an assessment that it is too early to make predictions about the behavior of Nunes Marques and Mendonça in 2026, because the road is still long until the next elections. Until then, the country’s political scenario may change. In addition, the two ministers have not yet joined the TSE — therefore, their position in electoral processes is unknown.

A STJ minister privately told the column that he does not believe that Nunes Marques and Mendonça at the head of the TSE make decisions deliberately favorable to Bolsonaro, just because they were chosen by him.

For this minister, the political scenario is still undefined for 2026, given the possibility of Bolsonaro being considered ineligible in one of the 17 cases against him that are pending in the electoral court.

When contacted by the column, Nunes Marques and André Mendonça declined to comment.

A minister of the STF, also in a private capacity, told the UOL doubt that the formation of the TSE in 2026 will result in any type of favoring Bolsonaro or candidates allied with the former president. “We are all judges,” he said.

Although the practical consequence of having Bolsonaro’s two chosen ones at the head of the Electoral Justice is not clear, the subject began to gain weight among the cream of the Judiciary in Brasília. The expectation is that the Court will have a different profile from last year, when Alexandre de Moraes conducted the electoral process.

The minister took tough decisions that affected Bolsonaro – such as the ban on using the Palácio da Alvorada to hold lives and the fine imposed on the PL, the former president’s party, for attacking the credibility of electronic voting machines. At the end of the election, Bolsonaro blamed Moraes for his defeat.

The TSE is made up of three ministers from the STF, two from the STJ (Superior Court of Justice) and two lawyers, who will still be appointed by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT). The third STF minister who will be on the TSE in 2026 is Dias Toffoli. From the STJ, it will be Antonio Carlos Ferreira and Villas Bôas Cueva.

The system of choice between the ministers of the STF and the STJ is rotational. The most senior minister who has not yet joined the electoral court takes over the vacancy on the TSE. The term of office is two years, renewable for another two years. In the case of ministers of the STJ, the mandate is only one year.

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