Brazil’s jailed Lula set to give up run for presidency: sources – Metro US

Brazil’s jailed Lula set to give up run for presidency: sources

By Lisandra Paraguassu

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s jailed former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is expected to give up his bid to run in next month’s presidential election after a Supreme Court judge on Thursday rejected his latest appeal, three party sources said.

That will remove the most popular candidate from October’s race and pave the way for Lula’s hand-chosen successor, Fernando Haddad, to become the Workers Party (PT) candidate.

Justice Edson Fachin, in a decision posted on the court’s website, ruled against a request from Lula’s legal team that argued that Brazil was required to follow the recommendation of the United Nations Human Rights Committee and allow Lula to run for office from jail.

Lula’s legal team will appeal Thursday’s ruling, and there are two separate appeals pending.

However, the PT sources said that Lula is expected to hand over a letter to Haddad during a jail cell meeting between the two men on Monday.

In the letter, Lula, who remains by far Brazil’s most popular politician, will ask his followers to vote for Haddad, the sources said. The PT has until the end of the day on Tuesday to register Haddad as its presidential candidate, according to a electoral court ruling.

Lula, who served as president from 2003-2010, is ineligible for office under Brazil’s “Clean Slate” law, which prohibits candidates from running if they have convictions that have been upheld on appeal.

Despite his conviction and several graft cases pending against him, Lula leads the electoral race by a long stretch, with 39 percent of voter support, according to pollster Datafolha. Lula has denied any wrongdoing. His nearest rival, far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, has 19 percent.

But Thursday’s decision and next Tuesday’s deadline for the PT to register a candidate without running the risk of having none at all finally convinced the reluctant Lula that it was time to give up his fight to run, the sources said.

Polling has shown that Haddad, who is mired in single digits, would get a huge boost if backed by Lula to run, possibly enough to propel him into a second-round runoff.

The chance that the leftist PT could return to power has spooked markets, helping send Brazil’s currency near historic lows.

(Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Additional reporting by Ricardo Brito; Writing by Brad Brooks; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Rosalba O’Brien)