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News > Latin America

'It Creates More Doubts:' Lawmakers, Activists React to Electoral Body Decision to Block Lula's Candidacy

  • Former Brazilian President Lula is carried by supporters.

    Former Brazilian President Lula is carried by supporters. | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 September 2018

Journalist Glen Greenwald tweeted: "Now, with Lula the clear poll favorite to win this years (election), courts just barred his candidacy."

Reactions, commentary and words of solidarity have poured in one day after Brazil's Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) voted to ban the presidential candidacy of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, barring him from running in the next presidential elections. The decision was made in a special session of the court, which was brought forward by over two weeks.

Brazil: Electoral Authorities Ban Lula From Presidential Race

Brazilian presidential candidate, Guilherme Boulos of the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL), said Luis Roberto Barroso, the magistrate who led the case against Lula and the first to vote against the former head of state, believes "all (public) institutions in the country are functioning normally. History books will remember this judge who increased judges salaries during the same month he denied the legitimacy of an injunction ordered by a United Nations committee."

Earlier this month Robert Barroso voted in favor of a 16.38 percent salary increase for judges.

Pablo Bustinduy, the international secretary for Spain's political party, Podemos, recorded a video saying that Brazil's TSE consummated the coup against Brazilian democracy by revoking Lula's political rights. "It is evident that combatting corruption is not the objective, but to impede Lula's participation in the elections... The coup can't be allowed to triumph."

German congressman and president of the European Parliament, Martin Schultz said that Europe is worried about Brazil, which is heading toward isolation, a militarization of public life and social polarization. During a recent visit to Lula, who remains in prison in Curitiba, Parana, Schultz described Lula as being "upbeat, determined and very focused."

He said that the case against the former president, considered by many legal experts as being a clear cut case of lawfare accompanied by a mass media smear campaign, creates "more doubts than answers. The United Nations' Human Rights Committee put this matter on the table for the international community as an issue that's causing irreparable damage to Lula's candidacy."

Schultz went on to quote Edmund Burke: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

Last week, Sarah Cleveland, vice-president of the UN Human Rights Commission, condemned statements made by Brazilian officials following the U.N.'s determination that the state should “take all necessary measures” to allow Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to “exercise his political rights” as a candidate in the October presidential elections.

Speaking in an interview with swissinfo.ch Cleveland said the measures put forward by the Committee are "legally binding." 

Meanwhile, journalist Glen Greenwald tweeted: "Brazil's Workers Party (PT) has won 4 straight national elections. But in 2016, the center-right parties that could never beat them removed Dilma & took over. Now, with Lula the clear poll favorite to win this year's, courts just barred his candidacy."

Brazil's Workers' Party (PT) issued a public statement saying that "They will present all appeals to the courts in order for Lula's political rights to be recognized, which are stipulated in the law and international treaties ratified by Brazil. We will defend Lula in the streets, alongside the people, because he is the candidate of hope." 

It went on to state that the TSE's decision to bar him from running in the October presidential election "exposes Brazil to the world as a country that doesn't respect its laws, doesn't fulfill its international commitments and manipulates, in complicity with the media, the judicial system" in order to persecute Lula.

The Brazilian electoral law and constitution stipulate that no political candidate is to be barred from running for office, or jailed, until all of their legal appeals have been exhausted, which is not the case for Lula. 

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.

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