Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva abandons Brazilian presidential bid
Former president barred from running over corruption conviction
Former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has abandoned his run for the presidency, just weeks out from the election.
Lula, as he is widely known in Brazil, made the decision to step aside after Brazil’s supreme electoral tribunal barred him from running because of his conviction on corruption and money laundering charges.
The 72-year-old has strongly denied any wrongdoing, and claims that the charges brought against him are part of his political persecution. He has been in jail since April, serving a 12-year sentence.
Lula served two terms as president from 2003 to 2011, and left office with record high approval ratings of around 90%. The criminal charges were levelled against him after he left office.
Despite Lula’s imprisonment, “almost 40% of people asked by polling firm Datafolha said they would vote for him”, the BBC says.
CNN reports that “running mate and former Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad will take his place on the 7 October ballot”.
In a letter to supporters, Lula urged those who had planned to vote for him to switch their vote to Haddad.
However, Hadded is relatively unknown, especially in the north-east of the country, and may struggle to overcome far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who is currently leading in the polls at around 26%.
Bolsonaro’s campaign has been disrupted, and he is due to undergo major surgery after he was stabbed in the abdomen by an attacker at a campaign rally last Thursday.