Brazil electoral court to rule Friday on Lula presidential candidacy

03 September, 2018, 09:00 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • 'Most popular politician on earth' barred from running for president

The Workers' Party is expected to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court and has until September 17 to replace Lula with another candidate or forfeit the ticket.

Mr da Silva, 72, has been incarcerated since April for accepting a bribe, but remained the front runner among Brazilians to win the election.

A majority of Brazil's top electoral court shot down late Friday the candidacy of popular leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in the country's upcoming presidential vote, telling the jailed former leader he can not participate in October's critical election.

"There is no margin here for the electoral court to make any other evaluation but the one showing there is a conviction, and that conviction matters in the candidate's eligibility", Barroso said.

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

Moments later, his Workers' Party vowed to "fight with all means to secure his candidacy". Lula earlier said he would appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

"We have a clearer picture that Lula's candidacy is doomed", said David Fleischer, a politics professor at the University of Brasilia.

Lula, Brazil's most popular politician, is serving a 12-year sentence for a corruption conviction.

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Lula was found guilty in July 2017 and then lost a first appeal in January.

Lula is ineligible for office under Brazil's "Clean Slate" law, which prohibits candidates from running if they have convictions that have been upheld on appeal.

Lula retains great popularity in Brazil after a successful spell in the presidency from 2003-10, but his Workers' Party's plan B looks hopeless as former Sao Paulo governor Fernando Haddad, who will stand if Lula is barred, commands little popular support.

He vehemently denies the accusations and has dismissed the charges as a political plot aimed at preventing him from standing in the elections.

The latest polls actually showed Lula enjoying a sizable lead over his rival candidates, claiming around 39 percent of voter support.

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

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

The court could also rule on Friday on a request by the conservative Partido Novo to exclude Lula from the television and radio ads campaign.

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