Brazil electoral court bars Lula from presidential race

Blanche Robertson
September 3, 2018

The lone opposing voice during the steamy session Justice Edson Fachin disagreed with his fellow justices, citing a recent call by a United Nations human rights committee calling for Lula to be allowed to run while he further appeals his conviction.

A majority of justices on Brazil's electoral court have voted to bar ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from running in October's presidential election, virtually ending his candidacy.

A Brazilian court ordered that former president Lula da Silva, now in prison, can not stand as a candidate in the presidential election to be held in October because of a corruption conviction. Finally, the PT stressed that Lula's candidacy is the response from the Brazilian people to those who usurped power (through the parliamentary-judicial coup perpetrated in 2016 against Constitutional President Dilma Roussef).

His legal team has said they will appeal against the court's decision.

"This is a week that will shame the judiciary forever", the party said in a statement to The Guardian, arguing that the clean slate law only banned candidates after all appeals processes were exhausted.

The court decision dropped late in the night but before the spots of presidential hopefuls were set to broadcast.

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He was found guilty in July 2017 and then lost his first appeal in January.

Nonetheless, UN committee member Olivier de Frouville told AFP that Lula should be allowed to "organize and campaign, even from jail".

From behind bars, the two times former leftist president and union leader is hugely popular and leads polls.

Millions of Brazilians still adore him due to the prosperity the country enjoyed under his leadership from 2003 to 2010. The accusations against him emerged after he left office in 2011.

The end of Lula's candidacy opens the electoral field to runner-up Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing congressman and former soldier whose platform includes gun legalization and weaker environmental regulations.

But the PT's second choice looks hopeless. That would seem to leave the party's fortunes in the hands of its current vice presidential candidate Fernando Haddad, a former Sao Paulo mayor who so far has polled in single digits and would have to count on the borrowed charisma of da Silva to succeed. But whether Lula can transfer his popularity to a replacement remains to be seen. The PT launched an appeal for support on Twitter, after which a hashtag translating to "Lula on the ballot box" quickly began trending.

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