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Lula’s Party Launches All-Out Push for His Brazil Candidacy

Lula’s Party Launches All-Out Push for His Brazil CandidacyLula’s Party Launches All-Out Push for His Brazil Candidacy

His supporters are descending on Brazil’s capital by the busloads, his lawyers wage legal battles and his party stages hunger strikes, sit-ins and news conferences in defense of his right to bid for the country’s top job.

In public, allies of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva are pulling out all the stops to get the imprisoned leftist leader to run in October’s election—an uphill battle that starts with his candidacy’s registration on Wednesday despite a corruption conviction. They even threaten not to recognize the vote’s result if he cannot participate, Bloomberg reported.

Yet in private many leaders of his Workers’ Party say Lula should, and will, eventually stand down if electoral authorities bar him from running as the law establishes. Instead of continuing to fight for his candidacy in court and on the streets, and put at risk the entire election, they want the party’s number-two choice, former Sao Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad, to take over the baton.

“Lula has profound respect for institutions,” Senator Humberto Costa, one of his closest allies, told Bloomberg. “He will play within the rules of the game,” he said, suggesting the former president and his party would eventually respect any court ruling.

Doubts over Lula’s candidacy exacerbate what is already the most uncertain election since Brazil’s return to democracy in 1985. With 13 presidential candidates in the running and no clear favorite other than the former president, it is a wide-open race with voter apathy and indecision at all-time highs. Even if Lula does not run, his support could be enough to propel Haddad into a run-off election, polls show. That may unnerve investors wary of his party’s pledges to reverse recent market-friendly legislation such as a constitutional spending cap and labor market deregulation.

Voters may not know until three weeks before election day whether Lula, the current leader in opinion polls, can run. That is the absolute deadline for appeals to electoral authorities.

 

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