7 February, 2018Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva is still leading in the polls for the forthcoming elections, which has intensified the continuing struggle for his candidacy and for democracy.
The judges in the court of appeals ruled to uphold the ex-president’s conviction, without any evidence to justify their decision, and requested an extension of his sentence to 12 years in prison. Soon after the ruling of 24 January, Lula responded in no uncertain terms before a crowd in Sao Paulo: “Everything they are doing is to prevent me from running, but I will run.”
According to a poll published by the Datafolha Institute on 31 January, Lula is still ahead in the polls for the Brazilian presidential elections to be held in October. Hence, if he is disqualified (under a law which forbids convicted persons from running for public office), it would cast doubt on the legitimacy of the elections and undermine democracy in Brazil.
The support revealed by various surveys could be seen on the streets on the day of his conviction in the court of appeal. Thousands of people gathered at various locations in Brazil to express their support and solidarity.
A delegation of 70 representatives of Uruguayan unions affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union traveled to Porto Alegre, accompanied by the regional secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean, Marino Vani. They marched together with IndustriALL affiliates in Brazil demanding justice and democracy, saying that presidential elections in October without Lula would be a fraud.
“The people and workers of Brazil are watching closely and will not accept what is happening in the courts. The decision to uphold the conviction was deplorable because it means that the coup in Brazil continues, together with the state of emergency, and this is an attempt to prevent Lula from running in the election. In any case, there are still possibilities, because he will continue to demonstrate his innocence in the next appeal court,” said Vani, adding:
“Social movements are very united and this hasn’t been seen for a long time in Brazil. Street demonstrations and the pressure are continuing. It is very possible that the electoral process may lead to the return of a democratic government, and that a stop will be put to unemployment, the loss of workers’ rights and social, economic and political regression in Brazil,” Vani concluded.