BRASILIA – The Brazilian Workers Party (PT) registered on Wednesday former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, currently behind bars on a corruption conviction, as its presidential candidate for the Oct. 7 election, but it must wait for the court system to approve the candidacy.
In the registration process at the Superior Election Court, the PT also registered former Education Minister Fernando Haddad to be Lula’s vice presidential running mate.
Haddad would step into the role of the presidential candidate if, due to a potential legal prohibition on Lula’s running, the former president were unable to participate in the election.
Thousands of Lula’s supporters gathered around the courthouse to demand that authorities release Lula, who has been imprisoned since April 7, and for his candidacy to be allowed, despite regulations prohibiting anyone whose sentence has been upheld by an appeals court – as is Lula’s situation – from running for elective office.
Lula’s candidacy was registered under the “El pueblo feliz de nuevo” (The People Happy Again) coalition, led by the PT and formed by the Brazilian Communist, (PCdoB), Labor Cause’s (PCO) and Social Order Republican (PROS) parties.
Haddad said that the party will appeal to the court again, as “Lula has the same rights as any other candidate” and “he will not renounce them.”
The former president is still being kept at the Federal Police headquarters in Curitiba, some 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) south of Brasilia, where his candidacy was registered on Wednesday.
According to the latest polls, Lula would obtain as much as 30 percent of the ballots, beating any of his potential opponents in the second round.
However, when his name is not considered, far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro has been shown to lead the polls, taking 17 percent, followed by Sustainability Party’s Marina Silva, with 13 percent; Labor Party’s Ciro Gomes, with eight and Social Democrat Geraldo Alckmin, with 16.
As much as half of the electorate is still undecided.
Lula, a one-time lathe operator, governed Brazil from 2003-2011 and left office with sky-high approval ratings.
PT chair Sen. Gleisi Hoffmann said Monday that an election without Lula would be “illegitimate.”
The leader of Latin America’s largest center-left party cited cases of other politicians who managed to get elected despite the 2010 Ficha Limpa (Clean Record) law, which states that a defendant whose conviction has been upheld by an appellate court is barred of fighting for Cuba’s freedom.