Brazil's left shaken by prospects of Lula jail, markets rally

Supreme Court orders ex-Brazilian President to turn into police

The director of Fitch Ratings in Brazil said in a Thursday note that a federal judge's order that former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva be jailed within 24 hours added more chaos to an already hectic political scenario.

Lula says the corruption charges against him are politically motivated and created to stop him from running for president again in October's election.

In theory, once someone has been convicted and lost their lower court appeal, they are barred from running for office under Brazil's clean slate law.

Lula was convicted past year of receiving a seaside apartment as a bribe from a construction company.

The orders follow a narrow Supreme Court ruling denying the ex-leader's request to delay the sentence while pursuing appeals against the conviction handed down a year ago.

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Latin America's largest nation prepared for what would have been unimaginable just a few years ago: the arrest of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a once wildly popular leader whose administrations were credited with bringing millions out of poverty in one of the world's most unequal countries.

But the Supreme Court ruled in a tense, almost 11-hour session by 6-5 that because the 72-year-old has already lost a lower court appeal against his conviction, he must begin the sentence.

According to the arrest order, Lula has until 5 pm local time Friday to turn himself to Federal Police in Curitiba. Despite his conviction, De Silva continues to lead in opinion polls and his party will continue to support him as their presidential candidate.

Likewise polls also show that Lula who had world record breaking support ratings when he stepped down from office in 2011, now also has a very significant rejection percentage, which questions how high and where, his support ceiling really stands.

As the ruling Brazilian Democratic Movement party has not yet announced its candidate, its decision may be another factor influencing the outcome of the election.

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Lula served as president between 2003 and 2011.

Cassio Goncalves, a labor safety specialist at the union headquarters, said Lula's Workers Party had not considered alternatives in the presidential race.

Lula has until mid-August to register his candidacy and only after that will the Superior Electoral Tribunal rule on whether his candidacy is valid.

Lula's downfall has been as stunning as the unprecedented corruption probes that have convulsed Brazil for the last four years, jailing dozens of politicians and business leaders long considered above the law.

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Da Silva's protégé, former President Rousseff, was herself ousted in 2016 for manipulating the federal budget to hide the nation's growing economic crisis.

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