Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva can now face the current president, Jair Bolsonaro, in the presidential elections after a Supreme Court judge annulled his corruption conviction and restored his political rights. </p><div> <p>This decision had a great impact and brought this prominent figure in Brazilian left-wing circles back to the political arena in the country, which suffers from great polarization, two years after the far-right President Jair Plosorano came to power.
Judge Edson Fashin found that the South Curitiba Court, which had ruled Lula in four cases, was “not authorized” to rule on these files.
And hearing these cases became the competence of a federal court in Brasilia. Pending verdicts, the former leftist president (2003-2010) regained his political rights and could run for a third term.
But the Brazilian public prosecutor can petition the Supreme Court, which is meeting in a plenary session.
“Lula is innocent,” a tweet posted on the account of the Labor Party that Lula founded in 1980. For his part, Lula did not make any statement.
Lula, who is 75, spent a year and a half in prison after being convicted of corruption, between April 2018 and November 2019 and was released by the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court, but was prevented from running in the elections.
Upon his imprisonment, the former president of the country was the most likely to win the presidential elections that were scheduled for October 2018, according to opinion polls.
Two and a half years later, Lula appears to be the only one capable of defeating the far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, in the upcoming elections in 2022. 50% of the people surveyed indicated their willingness to vote for him, compared to 44% for the incumbent president.
The São Paulo Stock Exchange fell more than 4% after the judge’s decision was announced, which sparked criticism in the business community.
The Brazilian president said via “CNN Brazil” that Judge Fachin “has always had strong ties with the Labor Party. We were all surprised by the decision, but in the end the whole society is aware of the leftist government’s banditry.”
Several allies have criticized Bolsonaro for revoking Lula’s convictions. Right-wing MP Pepo Nunes of the Social Liberal Party said the decision was “disgraceful.”
Coronel Tado, a deputy in the same party, wrote in a tweet, “If it were not for a candidate! We must now endure the enthusiasm of the Communists.”
On the other hand, the left-wing Argentine president, Alberto Fernandez, welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision, saying in a tweet that “justice has been served!” However, Labor leaders have chosen to be wary, fearing developments in the judicial process that has been holding Brazil’s breath for years.
“We are awaiting legal analysis of the decision of Judge Fashin, who admitted five years late that Sergio Morrow should not have been prosecuted without it,” said party leader Glesy Hoffman in a tweet.
She referred to Judge Morrow, one of Brazil’s most prominent anti-corruption figures, who indicted Lula in the Court of First Instance in July 2017. He then became Minister of Justice under Jair Bolsonaur before resigning in April 2020.
Lula’s convictions in Curitiba as part of an anti-corruption operation have been criticized in recent months, with judges and prosecutors questioning the impartiality after “The Intercept Brasil” website revealed an exchange of messages.
Lula was accused, in particular, of receiving bribes to make construction companies more likely to win bids related to the Brazilian oil company “Petrobras”.
The first conviction, which provided for ten years and eight months in prison, included a three-story apartment overlooking the sea that Lula might have received from one of these construction companies.
The second involved retrofits funded by building groups for a country house in Atipai, in the southeastern state of São Paulo.
The two convictions were confirmed before the Appeals Court, and he was also sentenced in the Court of First Instance in two cases related to violations of donations made by companies to the Lula Institute.