As the Brazil presidential election enters its final stage ahead of the first round of voting Sunday, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has released a video rallying support behind stand-in Worker's Party (PT) candidate Fernando Haddad.
In the previously unseen, 38-second long video, Lula told Brazilians the election was one of the most important the country has ever had and represented a battle for Brazil's "heart" and "soul."
"Never has this country needed so much of you," Lula said, "It is time to hold our heads up... because in this country there is nothing better than us (the Worker's Party)."
Lula also took time during the clip and in other posts to his social media accounts Saturday to defend the PT's legacy. Despite his conviction and imprisonment for corruption, events that many legal experts and observers attribute to lawfare and a salacious mainstream media campaign, Lula has topped every 2018 electoral poll conducted by Vox Populi, Ibope, Datafolha, Data Poder 360, Instituto Parana, the National Confederation of Transportation/MDA and Ipsos.
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 United Nations World Hunger Map. He left office with a record approval rating of 83 percent in 2011, according to Datafolha.
Analysts have branded this election as one of Brazil's most divisive with various polls giving far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro the lead ahead of the first round of voting.