World

Court majority blocks ex-president in Brazil

Court majority blocks ex-president in Brazil

Following hours of debate on Friday, Superior Electoral Court judges voted 6-to-1 against the 72-year-old Lula's candidacy, hours before television campaigning for the fall election began.

Justice Barroso said the Workers' Party should replace da Silva within 10 days, and that 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.

"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.

They gave the Workers' Party (PT) a September 12 deadline to find a replacement candidate for what is the most uncertain Brazilian election in decades.

The candidate, who served two terms as Brazil's president from 2003-2011, widely known as Lula, is a founding member of Brazil's only socialist political party, Partidos dos Trabahlhadores, the Worker's Party, but he has been in jail after receiving a 12-year sentence for corruption and money laundering earlier this year. By law, the former president is barred from running since his conviction has already been upheld by one appeals court.

Supreme Court Justice Luis Roberto Barroso said the decision to bar da Silva was "very simple" due to the conviction and later appeals court ruling.

The majority of the court agreed with Barroso that the United Nations recommendation could not supersede a "clean slate" law that bars candidates who have been convicted of serious crimes.

But unlike Lula, former Sao Paulo mayor Haddad commands little popular support.

Lula's social media followers remain upbeat, though.

Lula da Silva has been in prison since he surrendered to federal police in April. His conviction was upheld by an appeals court in January. Lula is the highest-profile figure to be charged in the so-called "car wash" investigation, a sprawling corruption probe that has brought down some of Brazil's most powerful businessmen and politicians over the last five years. His defense said he was a victim of political persecution. "The best way to protect these efforts is through the strict legality and swift resolution of eventual disputes".

Lula has also received backing from the UN Human Rights Committee, which ruled that he can not be disqualified from the elections as his legal appeals are ongoing.

He also accused political opponents of convicting him without evidence in an attempt to take him out of the election.

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.


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