Top Brazilian court bars Lula da Silva from running again for president

Supporters of the former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva attend a rally in Curitiba Brazil on Aug. 30

Brazil's top electoral court has ruled that jailed former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva can not run as a candidate in the presidential election because of his corruption conviction.

The ruling this week defies a request from the United Nations Human Rights Committee in August for Brazilian authorities "not to prevent him from standing for election in the 2018 presidential elections, until his appeals before the courts have been completed in fair judicial proceedings".

Brazil's embattled former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the front-runner in the country's election, will be struck from the ballot, an electoral court ruled on Friday, reshaping Brazil's election one month before voters cast their ballots.

Moments after the court's pronouncement was announced, members of Da Silva's Workers Party reiterated their will to secure his candidacy by any means possible.

But his Workers Party registered him as its presidential candidate for the October 7 vote anyway, saying he is innocent.

The Supreme Electoral Court barred Lula from running because it would violate an anti-corruption law that the former president himself signed.

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He relied on Lula's recent backing from the UN Human Rights Committee, which ruled that the former leader can not be disqualified from the elections as his legal appeals are ongoing. "It is a political annulment, based on lies and arbitrariness, as done in times of the dictatorship, ' said the text, adding that all recourses will be submitted to the courts so that Lula's political rights can be recognized, as established by law and global treaties ratified by Brazil".

Lula is ineligible for office under Brazil's "Clean Slate" law, which prohibits candidates from running if they have convictions that have been upheld on appeal. "We will defend Lula in the streets, with the people".

Lula's case was a last-minute addition to the Superior Electoral Court's extraordinary session, where seven magistrates in Brasilia began hearing it at 5:00 pm (2000 GMT).

Haddad campaigned Saturday in Lula's native state of Pernambuco, where he vowed the party would maintain a political and moral stance in keeping with Lula's leadership "and the desire of over 50 percent of Brazilians".

Vice-presidential running mate Fernando Haddad, a former mayor of Sao Paulo, is expected to head the ticket hoping to inherit the bulk of Lula's votes. But whether Lula can transfer his popularity to a replacement remains to be seen. His nearest rival, far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, has 19 per cent.

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