2022 Race

Lula under fire over ‘early campaigning’ claims

lula campaign
Lula during an event in Piauí. Photo: Ricardo Stuckert/PT

During a pre-campaign event in the northeastern city of Teresina on Wednesday, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva urged those in attendance to vote for him on October 2 — a violation of Brazil’s electoral rules.

Until the campaign proper begins on August 16, candidates are forbidden from explicitly asking for votes. Breaking this rule can incur legal challenges and a BRL 25,000 (USD 4,800) fine.

Lula issued a speech in the capital of Piauí state alongside former state governor and Senate candidate Wellington Dias, as well as Rafael Fonteles — who is seeking to succeed Mr. Dias in the Piauí governor’s chair. Both men are members of Lula’s center-left Workers’ Party.

“I’d like to ask you, every man and woman willing to vote for me and Wellington [Dias], that you vote for me on October 2, that you vote for Wellington, but also that you vote for Rafael [Fonteles], as he will look after the people of Piauí,” said the former president, addressing a crowd of tens of thousands.

Earlier in his speech, Lula had already acknowledged that he wasn’t “yet allowed to ask for votes.”

Both Lula and incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro are set to come under increased scrutiny in the coming weeks and months as the campaign officially begins. After August 16, asking for votes becomes O.K., but there are tighter rules in place governing misinformation and criticism of the electoral system, which could lead to legal battles — especially for Mr. Bolsonaro.