What does a former president do after losing an appeal, having a prison sentence extended, and his passport seized? Run again!
Judge Ricardo Leite is investigating allegations that Lula illegally lobbied on behalf of a Swedish firm that sold military jets to Brazil.
On Wednesday, an appeals court unanimously upheld his conviction for corruption in a separate case.
Lula keeps saying, “I haven’t committed any crime.” Apparently his Workers’ Party believes him since they announced he’s their candidate for president. However (emphasis added)
While Mr. da Silva’s lawyers are expected to challenge Wednesday’s appeals-court ruling, many legal experts believe the verdict will ultimately prevent the former president, who currently stands at the top of pre-election polls, from running. Under Brazil’s Clean Record election law, politicians convicted of corruption stand to be barred from public office for eight years once the verdict is upheld by an appeals court.
The party has also failed to groom young leaders to take up its banner should Mr. da Silva be barred, which has been a possibility at least since he was sentenced in July to 9½ years in prison for corruption and money laundering. The appeals court this week lengthened that sentence to just over 12 years.
How’s Lula doing?
In polls taken last month, the former leader led the pack of presidential hopefuls by a healthy margin, with 36% of voter intentions, according to Datafolha. In second place was right-wing populist Jair Bolsonaro, with 18%.
For now, Lula was scheduled to travel to Ethiopia to speak on world hunger, but had to cancel.
Brazil is Latin America’s largest economy.
Cross-posted at Fausta’s Blog.
Photo by Luiz Fernando Reis MMF