Brazil is bracing for a historic ruling in the court case of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva over a corruption charge that will decide if he will be able to run for the upcoming general elections in October.
In July 2017, Judge Sergio Moro alleged the former leftist president was guilty of corruption and money laundering, resulting in a ten-year jail sentence. The sentence was grounded on claims that he and his wife illicitly received millions in kickbacks from the OAS Group construction company as well as furniture and improvements for their beachfront apartment in Guaruja.
The 72-year-old leftist leader has maintained that the case is politically motivated to remove him from the presidential race. "What’s on trial isn’t Lula, it’s a government, it’s the way that we treat this country," he said at a press conference last week, The Guardian reported.
Thousands of Lula's supporters, union activists and Workers' Party members gathered outside the court yesterday to show support.
"It’s a coup," Simon Zanardi of the Oil Workers Trade Union told CGTN.
"Lula will be convicted because they know that if he runs for president, democracy will be restored in Brazil and workers will again be in power."
"Lula’s defense and people on the left say this is the continuation of the coup that ousted Dilma Rousseff in 2016. They say this is the next step in trying to ensure that Lula can’t run or come back into power," Brazil-based journalist Michael Fox told teleSUR in an interview.
"The elite and big capital want to continue to rule the country and rollback Lula’s Workers' Party policies. And not just Workers' Party policies, but others going back decades."
Having left office with a record approval rating of 83 percent, according to Datafolha, Lula now leads upcoming presidential polls conducted by Vox Populi, Datafolha, Data Poder 360, Instituto Parana, the National Confederation of Transportation/MDA and Ipsos.
"Lula cannot be stopped without a final decision before the election," Rafael Morgentau, an attorney specializing in election law, told CGTN.
"So, given the right to appeal and the low speed of this kind of process, his presence in the race is very realistic scenario."
His two terms in office were marked by a slew of social programs, lifting millions of Brazilians out of poverty and removing the country from the U.N. World Hunger Map. He also made significant improvements in housing and education, which stand in contrast to those who governed the country in the past.