It's official: Lula can't run for president

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Brazil's top electoral court determined that former head of state Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (pictured), who is currently serving a prison term for corruption, is not eligible in the October general election.

Earlier this month, leftist workers' party (PT) officially registered Lula as its candidate. Shortly afterwards, attorney general Raquel Dodge filed a legal action to block his candidacy.

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Late Friday, court members voted 6 to 1 against his candidacy. The PT said it will appeal against the decision. "The workers' party will continue to use all means to secure its candidacy in the October 7 elections," it said.

Lula, who governed from 2003 to 2011, turned himself to federal police in April to begin a 12-year prison sentence for corruption and money laundering. Under Brazilian election rules, a person serving a prison sentence cannot run for public office, but the PT appealed the rule.

Brazilians will head to the polls in October to vote for a president, state governors and legislators.

According to analysts, PT although realizes legal challenges to go ahead with this fight regarding Lula's candidacy is using his image as it seeks to keep its power and influence, even if it is unable to win back the presidency, by electing state governors and legislators in October.

PT registered former São Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad as VP candidate on the same ticket as Lula, and now, with the court decision Haddad is expected to become the presidential candidate.

All polls with Lula's name have him with a commanding lead. Haddad, meanwhile, has failed to gain any traction with voters.

Meanwhile, with Lula's absence, ultra-rightwing lawmaker and former army captain Jair Bolsonaro, who has controversial proposals such as arming the population to fight crime, is the frontrunner, while centrist and market-friendly candidates are lagging far behind.