Brazil’s Workers’ Party still backs Lula for president

World Today

In Brazil, the Workers’ Party is still standing firmly behind its favorite candidate- Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. This is despite his corruption conviction upheld by an appeals court Wednesday.
The leftist political party says Lula should once again lead the nation. But in order to do that, the former president has some legal challenges to overcome.

CGTN’s Paulo Cabral reports.

The day after a court ruling that could keep former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva out of this year’s election, his party remained defiant and gathered some of its top leadership to reaffirm that Lula is their candidate.

“We don’t have a Plan B,” said Gleisi Hoffmann, the president of the Workers’ Party. “Lula is our candidate for the 2018 elections.”

Lula once again proclaimed his innocence and affirmed his ambition to be the president of Brazil for a third time.

“I don’t want to sound arrogant but I want to tell you that I want to be the candidate to win the elections and govern this country that way it has to be governed,” said Lula.

According to Brazilian law, convicted politicians cannot run for office, but the situation is not clear-cut.

Lula could be allowed to run for office in October by filing appeals that would drag out a final settlement of his case beyond election day. A consequence of that scenario, however, is the likelihood of even more political instability in the country.

The director of Rio Grande do Sul Regional Electoral Court says there’s a risk the office of president could remain empty if Lula were to win the election before a final decision is made on his right to be a candidate.

“In this case, if there are pending appeals, the Superior Elections Court could not proclaim the results of the ballot, and then the election would be suspended,” said Antonio Augusto da Cunha, the director-general of Rio Grande do Sul’s Regional Electoral Court.

So far, this is little more than speculation. Brazilian political forces are still trying to organize their strategies amid much uncertainty.

“If Lula is not a candidate, certainly Brazil’s left wing loses because he is the great name in this camp. But actually it’s not clear who wins and who loses in this scenario,” said Marco Aurelio Nogueira, a Political Science Professor at Sao Paulo State University.

For the last couple of decades Lula has been a defining figure in Brazil’s politics. Election watchers say this is likely to continue – whether he’s on the ballot or not.