Brazilians are five months away from casting their ballots for president – and there are no candidates that stand out as clear-cut favorites. It’s the first time since we became a democracy that we have been this close to a presidential election with such uncertainty. Of course, that scenario would be far different if former President Lula da Silva hadn’t been recently convicted by an appellate court and arrested.
Lula remains the favorite for approximately one-third of the electorate, but he now will not be a part of the race (barring some bizarre turn of events, of course). According to the so-called Clear Record Law, candidates with multiple convictions – like Lula – aren’t eligible for office. Of course, the former president could, in theory, be released on parole and manage to have his ineligibility suspended by the Supreme Court. But if the justices put him in jail, they will likely deny him the right to run for the country’s highest office.