Brazil’s Lula set to anoint stand-in for presidential race

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CURITIBA, Brazil, Sept 11, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Brazil’s jailed ex-leader Luiz
Inacio Lula da Silva was expected to resign his candidacy for another
presidential term Tuesday and name his running mate as his replacement before
a court-ordered deadline.

Fernando Haddad, a former Sao Paulo mayor and Lula’s vice presidential
running mate, was expected to make the announcement later in the day before
Lula supporters camped outside his jail in the southern city of Curitiba.

The change is a virtual certainty because otherwise Lula’s Workers Party
will have no candidate in the presidential elections, with the first round
less than a month away on October 7.

It comes less than two weeks after the Superior Electoral Tribunal ruled
that the popular but polarizing former president cannot run while serving a
12-year sentence for corruption.

The tribunal gave the Workers Party until 7:00 pm local time Tuesday (2200
GMT) to name a stand-in.

Though jailed, the 72-year-old Lula was the frontrunner in polls, and his
removal from the race has scrambled the field, catapulting rightwing populist
Jair Bolsonaro to the fore.

A poll out Monday by Datafolha shows Haddad, a 55-year-old with little of
the star power of his mentor, with nine percent support, up five points from
a month ago.

That places him in a mix of candidates aspiring to go to a second round of
voting against Bolsonaro, who currently is out front at 26 percent.

– Clean slate rules –

Lula’s supporters have been camped out outside the federal police
headquarters in Curitiba since he was incarcerated April 7.

The city is the epicenter of a sprawling corruption investigation that has
brought to justice dozens of politicians and business leaders, including
Lula, who was president from 2003 to 2011.

He was convicted in July 2017 of taking a bribe from a Brazilian
construction company in the form of a luxury seaside apartment in return for
contracts with state oil giant Petrobras.

Numerous appeals of the conviction and sentence have failed, and his
lawyers also have been unable to get around clean slate rules that have kept
Lula off the ballot.

He faces trial in five other cases, but insists he is the innocent victim
of politically motivated prosecutions to keep him out of office.

A former metalworker, Lula rose as a union leader during Brazil’s military
dictatorship, co-founding the Workers Party in 1980.

His presidency was credited with lifting millions out of poverty through
generous social programs, transforming his Workers Party into a political
powerhouse.

It has won the last four presidential elections, the last two by Dilma
Rousseff, Lula’s handpicked successor who was ousted from power by Congress
in 2016, accused of manipulating federal budgets.

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