Brazil: Lula’s presidential ambitions vanish over court ruling

SÃO PAULO – Former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been barred from the upcoming elections in Brazil. A majority of judges from the electoral court voted him ineligible to run in the October’s presidential elections. Although serving a 12-year-prison sentence for fraud, Lula was presented anyway as a candidate from the Workers’ Party.

Despite being the front-runner candidate, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is not allowed to run in the October’s presidential voting. The decision came after a majority of judges from the Brazil’s electoral court considered him ineligible to run. The jailed ex-president, who is serving a 12-year-prison sentence for fraud, was leading the polls, as reported by a national polling institute. After the court’s decision, Lula´s legal team said they will appeal the sentence.

After a long late-night session, six of the seven judges called to decide on Lula’s case and voted to bar him from the candidacy. “What is at stake here today is the equality of all citizens before the law and the constitution,” judge Og Fernandes said.   

Brazil’s Workers’ Party responded to the court decision, alleging that they will fight by all means for Lula’s candidacy. “We will present all appeals before the courts for the recognition of the rights of Lula, provided by law and international treaties ratified by Brazil,” the Lula’s defendants said.

Brazil’s 2018 presidential campaign is heating up

The United Nations on Lula’s rights

The UN Human Rights committee stated on Friday that Lula can’t be ruled out for next Brazil’s voting, as his legal appeals are still going on. The panel asked Brazil to take the necessary measures to ensure that Lula can exercise his political rights while imprisoned, as a candidate for the 2018 presidential elections. According to the committee, the leftist former president candidacy can’t be barred, until all his appeals before the court have been completed, in a fair judicial proceeding.

Olivier de Frouville, a member of the UN committee, told the press that Lula’s lawyer had asked the Brazil’s judge for urgent action in three issues: that he’d be immediately freed from jail, that he´d be granted access to the media and his political party, and that he´d be allowed to run in the election. The panel rejected the first request, but still supported Lula on the other two.  

Although Lula is serving a sentence for fraud, recent polls revealed that around one third of the population of Brazil would support Lula if he is allowed to run in the elections. That’s why Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva remains, for now, the front-runner candidate for the October’s voting.        

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