Brazil electoral court to rule Friday on presidential candidacy

Charlene Craig
September 3, 2018

Brazil's highest electoral court on Friday night ruled that Luiz Inacia Lula da Silva, the popular Leftist former president who is serving a 12-year prison term for corruption, can not stand in October's presidential election. Though the decision was expected, Lula's lawyers have said that they would appeal in the Supreme Court.

He said the Workers' Party should replace da Silva in up to 10 days and said he should not appear as a presidential candidate in free airtime that is given to political parties on nationwide TV and radio starting on Saturday. His party workers have registered him as its presidential candidate for the October 7 vote claiming he is innocent.

The Workers' Party said in a statement: "We will present all the appeals to the courts so that the political rights of Lula, as provided by law and in global treaties ratified by Brazil, are recognized". "It is a political annulment, based on lies and arbitrariness, as done in times of the dictatorship, ' said the text, adding that all recourses will be submitted to the courts so that Lula's political rights can be recognized, as established by law and global treaties ratified by Brazil".

Last month, a group of United Nations-appointed human rights experts urged Brazilian authorities to allow Lula to run until he exhausts all appeals.

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"We will defend Lula in the streets, with the people, because he is a candidate of hope". The text also pointed out that the TSE accelerated the deadlines to analyze the registration of the leader's candidacy in order to exclude him from the presidential race.

Lula's case was a last-minute addition to the Superior Electoral Court's extraordinary session, where seven magistrates in Brasilia began hearing it at 5:00 pm (2000 GMT).

Lula da Silva was initially found guilty of the charges in July 2017.

Supporters of the former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva attend a rally in Curitiba, Brazil, on August 30.

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Despite the uncertainty over his ability to stand, Lula now leads polls with more than double the share of his nearest challenger, the right-winger Jair Bolsonaro. Vice-presidential running mate Fernando Haddad, a former mayor of Sao Paulo, is now expected to head the ticket hoping to inherit the bulk of Lula's votes.

But he is adored by millions of Brazilians due to the years of growth Brazil enjoyed under his leadership from 2003 to 2010 and he left office with a popularity rating of over 80 percent.

Lula's social media followers remain upbeat, though.

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