Lula da Silva confirmed as presidential candidate of the Brazilian party | Political news

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva confirmed as presidential candidate ahead of October elections.

Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been officially nominated by his leftist Workers’ Party (PT) to run against far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil’s most polarized election in decades.

Thursday’s vote by party delegates at a hotel in Sao Paulo was widely expected and merely symbolic, with da Silva’s campaign already underway. The 76-year-old did not attend the party convention as he campaigns in his home state of Pernambuco in Brazil’s impoverished northeast. He was leading all the polls against incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro.

This year will mark the sixth presidential bid for da Silva, whom Brazilians universally refer to as “Lula.”

A victory for Lula in the October 2 ballot would represent a meteoric return for the former union leader. Lula, who led Brazil for two terms from 2003 to 2010, spent 580 days in jail for corruption convictions that were later overturned.

Lula was also confirmed as the Workers’ Party candidate at its 2018 convention, then a conviction for bribery and money laundering removed him from the race and paved the way for Bolsonaro’s victory.

As his party launched its ticket, Lula encountered artists and intellectuals at a rally at a theater in the city of Recife, where supporters chanted his name.

Campaigning on his achievements in reducing poverty at a time of rapid growth fueled by a global commodity boom, Lula lambasted Bolsonaro for the return of hunger among Brazil’s poor during an economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19.

“I didn’t need to be president again. I could save my diploma as the best president of all time and live the last years of my life quietly, ”said Lula during a meeting. “But I saw this country being destroyed. I saw our education run by a guy who doesn’t like education. So, I decided to come back.”

The former union leader was released from prison in 2019 and his convictions were overturned last year after the Supreme Court ruled that the judge presiding over the case, Sergio Moro, was biased. This enabled Lula’s presidential run this year. Moro, who oversaw the sprawling “Car Wash” corruption investigation, later became Bolsonaro’s justice minister. A UN panel found that the investigation violated Lula’s right to a fair trial.

To appeal to moderate voters disappointed with Bolsonaro’s government and soften his leftist image, Lula chose former Sao Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin, a respected centrist among business leaders, as his running mate. Lula said Brazilian businessmen should “pray for me to return as president.”

Missing were former PT officials who helped him win his first successful presidential campaign in 2002, such as his former chief of staff Jose Dirceu and his corrupt former finance minister Antonio Palocci. Both men spent time in prison for corruption.

Lula promised to increase the role of the state in the economy and increase social welfare, while maintaining a free market. Among his main advisers is a young economist, Gabriel Galipolo, former CEO of the investment bank Banco Fator and managing partner of Galipolo Consultancy.

In interviews, Lula hinted that this year’s race would be his last campaign for the highest office and that he would not seek a second term if re-elected. He has tried to reach out to moderates as the nation remains fiercely polarized.

Bolsonaro, a far-right politician, called the upcoming race a battle of good versus evil. Lagging in the polls, he also made unsubstantiated claims that Brazil’s electronic voting system is likely to be fraudulent, which many analysts say indicates he is setting the stage to dismiss the results. elections. Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party will hold its convention on Sunday to confirm him as the candidate.

Left-wing politician Ciro Gomes formalized his candidacy on Wednesday. He was third in opinion polls, but far behind da Silva and Bolsonaro.

Da Silva was supported by 47% of likely voters in the Oct. 2 election and Bolsonaro by 28%, according to the June Datapolha poll, which had a margin of error of two percentage points. That puts da Silva within striking distance of an outright victory in the first round, with no second round needed, although analysts have said they expect the race to narrow in the coming months.

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