Former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has bowed out of Brazil’s presidential election. He was leading in the polls, even though he’s in jail. Now Lula’s running mate will take over the “Workers’ Party” ticket.
CGTN’s Paulo Cabral filed this report.
Lula da Silva’s decision to withdraw from the presidential race was hardly a surprise, nor was the nomination of Fernando Haddad as his replacement. Most analysts have said this was the most likely course, as court appeals could only delay an almost certain outcome.
Haddad, the former mayor of Sao Paulo, was already the party’s declared Plan B if Lula da Silva was barred from running by the Supreme Electoral Court, and that’s exactly what happened. The official announcement was made in the city of Curitiba, where Lula has been imprisoned on charges of corruption.
“We have to tell the people that we are feeling that same pain but that it’s not time to go back home with our heads down,” Haddad said. “It’s time to take to the streets with our heads high up to win this election. And we will win it for Lula, for the Workers’ Party, for the Community Party, for all social movements and for Brazil.”
Manuela D’Avila of the Communist Party of Brazil was confirmed as the vice-presidential candidate on the ticket.
“Over the next three weeks we have to be thousands of Lulas on the streets. I am Lula. We are all Lula,” D’Avila said, encouraging the people.
The Workers’ Party held on to Lula da Silva’s candidacy for as long as it could. The problem is that with less than one month to go before the presidential elections, time is running out to campaign for his replacement.
Up until Tuesday’s decision, polls showed Lula da Silva held a strong lead over his opponents with about 30-percent. In the latest surveys, Fernando Haddad is still in the single digits, struggling for a place in the second round of the elections.
One political analyst says it all depends on the party’s capacity to transfer Lula’s support to Haddad in the relatively short time remaining until the election.
“When Lula is out of the picture, the number of undecided voters and of those planning to vote blank increases a lot. And these voters are now up for grabs,” said Rodrigo Prando, Politics Professor at Sao Paulo’s Mackenzie University.
“We know that Haddad will not inherit all of the former president’s votes because Lula is a singular figure.”
Right now, polls place far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who was recently stabbed in a knife attack, ahead. Analysts predict he’ll be in the second round. Four others are seen as having a chance of taking the other position, and Haddad is one of them. However, the odds remain wide open in Brazil’s presidential elections, scheduled for October 7th.