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Brazil Workers' Party names jailed Lula as candidate

China Daily | Updated: 2018-08-06 07:28

SAO PAULO - Brazil's Workers' Party announced on Saturday that for the sixth time in its history, ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will be its candidate in the Oct 7 presidential election.

Delegates from the party confirmed Lula, who served two terms as Brazil's president between 2003 and 2010, with enthusiastic approval at a convention in Sao Paulo.

The former president is likely to be barred by Brazil's electoral court, though.

Brazil Workers' Party names jailed Lula as candidate

Since April, the former president has been jailed on a corruption conviction, but he denies any wrongdoing and claims he is being politically persecuted.

Lula leads polls for the office by a large margin, and surveys show voters would lend their support to another Workers' Party candidate if he cannot participate.

This is the first time in Brazil's history that a person who is imprisoned has been named as a presidential candidate.

The decision was made by the party's 600 delegates during its national meeting in Sao Paulo.

"This is a historic moment, Lula is officially our candidate," the party president and senator Gleisi Hoffmann said.

Conventions

Lula sent a message from his prison cell which was read during the gathering. In the message, Lula accused judge Sergio Moro, who presided over the Lava Jato case, of trying to "silence" him in order to stop his presidential run.

"Brazil needs to restore its democracy, find itself and be happy again," he said. "They might lock me up, shut me up, but I will keep my faith in the Brazilian people."

Parties have until Sunday to hold conventions and name candidates, although the consequences for missing that deadline are unclear with a separate filing deadline on Aug 15 to declare nominees to the election authority.

If the court rules in Lula's favor, it would be his sixth time as a presidential candidate. He served as Brazil's president from 2003 to 2010.

At least eight other parties held conventions on Saturday, largely ratifying expected presidential tickets or backing allied parties' candidates.

The Brazilian Sustainability Network Party nominated former senator and environment minister Marina Silva for her third presidential bid, while the Brazil Social Democracy Party launched the candidacy of four-time governor of Sao Paulo Geraldo Alckmin.

Silva and Alckmin are polling second and third behind candidate Jair Bolsonaro in early polling that excludes Lula.

Alckmin, who was named by the Social Democracy Party as its presidential nominee on Saturday, criticized the Workers' Party for the country's 13 million unemployed.

"It was the lies and the radicalism that created the chain of events that is the tragic heritage of the Workers' Party," he said.

Gleisi Hoffmann addressed supporters at the convention after two fringe parties endorsed Lula's run.

"They tried to exclude Lula from the political discussion," she said. "There is no political discussion in Brazil without Lula and the Workers' Party."

Centrist Silva was nominated by the Rede party on Saturday.

Polling third, Silva will bid for the presidency for a third time.

Ap - Xinhua - Reuters

Brazil Workers' Party names jailed Lula as candidate

(China Daily 08/06/2018 page11)

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