Brazil's top electoral court bars Lula da Silva from running for presidency

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

Polls show tepid support for the vice presidential running mate Haddad's bid, but the party hopes Lula's popularity could boost the former mayor's hopes.

They gave the Workers' Party (PT) a September 12 deadline to find a replacement candidate for what is the most uncertain Brazilian election in decades.

"There is no margin here for the electoral court to make any other evaluation but the one showing there is a conviction, and that conviction matters in the candidate's eligibility" to run, said Barroso. Former US president Barack Obama once called him the "most popular politician on earth".

A month before Brazilians go to the polls to vote in a presidential election, Brazil's top electoral court has ruled a popular former president jailed for corruption conviction, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, can not run.

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In an extraordinary session the Superior Electoral Court dashed Lula's hopes after hours of debate, with the judges voting an overwhelming 6-1 against him.

A party statement said the court had bowed to the wishes of Brazil's elites to stop Lula returning to office. He is the first presidential candidate to be barred from running because of the law.

The candidate, who served two terms as Brazil's president from 2003-2011, widely known as Lula, is a founding member of Brazil's only socialist political party, Partidos dos Trabahlhadores, the Worker's Party, but he has been in jail after receiving a 12-year sentence for corruption and money laundering earlier this year.

Lula's social media followers remain upbeat, though.

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He is accused of securing lucrative government contracts for one of the country's largest construction companies in exchange for a beachfront apartment. "Lula has a number of appeals outstanding at higher courts".

Lula has said the case amounts to a right-wing coup to keep him from winning the presidency.

Lula is now serving a 12-year sentence for a corruption conviction.

"Brazil's fight against corruption and impunity constantly suffer attacks and attempts at delegitimisation by powerful parties and political disputes", said Bruno Brandao, head of Transparency International in Brazil.

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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. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), signed a letter questioning the merits of Lula's imprisonment. "The fight against corruption must not be used to justify the persecution of political opponents or deny them the opportunity to freely participate in elections", the lawmakers wrote. His closest contender is the far-right former general Jair Bolsonaro on 19 percent.

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