Former President Lula. Photo: Stuckert/IL
Lula speaks to a crowd of supporters on the eve of his trial R Stuckert IL Lula's trial

Photo: Stuckert/IL

Tuesday was a day of mixed emotions for former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. In the morning, a new opinion poll showed that he has sustained a considerable lead against all other presidential hopefuls. Hours later, however, the Superior Justice Tribunal ruled unanimously to reject his request to stay out of jail until all appeals in his case are exhausted. In January, Lula was convicted of corruption and money laundering.

According to justices from Brazil’s second-highest court, the former president should be incarcerated once the appellate court responsible for the conviction analyzes his requests for verdict reviews. That could happen as early as April.

</p> <p>This latest legal defeat has pushed Lula closer to jail &#8211; and further from the presidential race. His candidacy was already a long shot, since the Brazilian legislation states that politicians with multiple convictions cannot run for office. If he goes to jail, then running becomes impossible.</p> <p>Lula still has hopes that Supreme Court Justice Cármen Lúcia will bring to the court a case about enforcing sentences after a second conviction in an appellate court. In 2016, the court decided that courts should carry on sentences, but it is under no obligation to maintain that same understanding.</p> <p>Just as in January, when Lula was convicted by the appellate court, news that Lula might indeed be excluded from the race has helped Brazil&#8217;s stock market and currency. The Brazilian Real gained 1.20 percent against the U.S. Dollar, the biggest increase in three weeks.</p> <h3><span style="color: #4c4e4d;">Presidential polls</span></h3> <p>According to the latest presidential polls, when Lula is considered among the possible candidates, he comes in first &#8211; and that&#8217;s in all scenarios. But if Lula is out of the race, then far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro takes the lead. The former president would beat anyone in the runoff stage, and he now appears to be the only one capable of winning against Bolsonaro.</p> <p>This latest opinion poll shows that the federal intervention in Rio did little to increase President Michel Temer&#8217;s approval ratings. His administration is approved by 4.3 percent voters, up from 3.4 percent in the previous <a href="https://eleicoes.uol.com.br/2018/noticias/2018/03/06/lula-lidera-pesquisa-aponta-cntmda-sem-petista-bolsonaro-fica-em-1.htm">poll</a>.</p> <div class="infogram-embed" data-id="a74678ed-4bb6-41d2-8d7d-b651d0303c71" data-type="interactive"></div><script>!function(e,t,s,i){var n="InfogramEmbeds",o=e.getElementsByTagName("script"),d=o[0],r=/^http:/.test(e.location)?"http:":"https:";if(/^\/{2}/.test(i)&&(i=r+i),window[n]&&window[n].initialized)window[n].process&&window[n].process();else if(!e.getElementById(s)){var a=e.createElement("script");a.async=1,a.id=s,a.src=i,d.parentNode.insertBefore(a,d)}}(document,0,"infogram-async","//e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js");</script> <p>

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PowerMar 07, 2018

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BY Gustavo Ribeiro

An award-winning journalist with experience covering Brazilian politics and international affairs. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets.