Electoral Court bars Lula from 2018 presidential race

. Sep 01, 2018
lula barred presidential race electoral justice electoral court Lula won't be able to run for a 3rd term

The expected has finally come to pass, and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been formally barred from this year’s presidential election in the early hours of Saturday morning. The Superior Electoral Court gathered on Friday in a surprise extraordinary sitting, where they deliberated several objection requests regarding Lula’s candidacy. The electoral justices voted 6 to 1 in favor of excluding the former President from this year’s ballot.

As a result of Lula’s appeals court convictions for passive corruption and money laundering, for which he is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence, the Superior Electoral Court found Lula to be ineligible, under the so-called “Clean Slate Law” – sanctioned by Lula himself in 2010.

</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Justices Luís Roberto Barroso, Jorge Mussi, Og Fernandes, Admar Gonzaga, Tarcísio Vieira de Carvalho, and Rosa Weber voted in favor of barring Lula&#8217;s candidacy. The only vote against the objection request came from Justice Edson Fachin.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lula&#8217;s defense team can now lodge an extraordinary appeal at the Supreme Court, which is expected to be filed in the coming hours. If that fails, </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lula’s running mate Fernando Haddad</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> will become the Workers’ Party’s new presidential candidate, with Manuela D’Ávila, of the Communist Party of Brazil, stepping into the vice president spot. The Workers&#8217; Party is likely to wait until Monday to announce Mr. Haddad as its candidate, meaning it will not be able to air any political broadcasts later this Saturday.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Superior Electoral Court’s decision to judge Lula’s candidacy on Friday came as a shock, as the Court usually only holds sittings on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Furthermore, Lula’s defense only filed their answer to the objection requests on Thursday evening. Court precedents dictate that the time between the submission of the request and the trial should take at least 5 days, or in extreme cases, 2 days. In Lula’s case, it took less than 24 hours for his case to go to trial.</span></p> <h2>Lula&#8217;s trial</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Among the reasons to take Lula&#8217;s case to trial on Friday was the urgent issue of Lula’s permission to appear on television and radio campaign broadcasts. The first presidential television adverts will air later this Saturday, and being imprisoned, Lula was denied from appearing on camera as the candidate.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The decision to hold the trial on Friday was challenged by Lula&#8217;s defense team, but denied by the majority of the court. The head of the Superior Electoral Court, Justice Rosa Weber, said that if it were up to her, the case would have gone to trial next week, either on Tuesday or Thursday. When the Supreme Court decided on the case of Lula&#8217;s arrest in April, Justice Weber cast the deciding vote in favor of his imprisonment.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Before the justices of the Electoral Court read their decisions, representatives of the objectants were given time to speak, as well as Lula’s defense team and Prosecutor General Raquel Dodge. The common theme among their speeches was the decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, which demanded Lula be allowed to exercise his political rights. Ms. Dodge claimed the decision was unenforceable, in accordance with case law. Last week, </span><b>The Brazilian Report</b> <a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">analyzed the UN decision</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, and the reasons why it was unlikely to be enforced.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Curiously, one of the plaintiffs in the case against Lula&#8217;s candidacy is former porn star Alexandre Frota, who has recently become a vocal far-right activist. In 2014, Mr. Frota admitted to having sexually assaulted a woman in the past.</span></p> <h2>The verdict</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rapporteur Luís Roberto Barroso was the first justice to decide, voting in favor of barring Lula’s candidacy. He added that the Workers’ Party should elect a new presidential candidate within 10 days, until then the party would be unable to campaign on television or radio.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Justice Edson Fachin went against the rapporteur, defending the validity of the UN Human Rights Committee decision. In an hour-long speech, in which Justice Fachin broke down the doctrine of international treaties, he said that despite agreeing Lula should eventually be made ineligible, the UN injunction gives the former President &#8220;the right to halt the effectiveness of any ruling blocking his candidacy.&#8221;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lula&#8217;s defense team is set to lodge an extraordinary appeal to the Federal Supreme Court, of which the chances of success depend on which Justice is designated the case. The appeal will be drawn between 7 of the 11 Supreme Court Justices, with the Workers’ Party banking on Justices Marco Aurélio Mello or Ricardo Lewandowski receiving the case.

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