Lula officially out of Brazil’s presidential race. What happens now?

. Sep 12, 2018
haddad lula bolsonaro election Workers' Party: "Haddad is Lula"

The worst-kept secret in Brazilian politics is out, as the Workers’ Party have finally announced Fernando Haddad as their official candidate, replacing former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on the ballot from now on. In jail since April 7, serving a 12-year sentence for passive corruption and money laundering, Lula already knew he would not be able to run – although the confirmation only came two weeks ago, and still, his party resisted the change until the last day given by Brazil’s top electoral court.

Insisting with Lula for so long was an obvious decision for a party as rejected and polarizing as the Workers’ Party. Lula remains the country’s most popular political figure, and appeared polling as high as 39 percent in recent weeks. In the Northeast, he was receiving up to 59 percent. As a matter of fact, if Lula were a candidate, we would be debating whether or not he would pull off a first-round win. But since he is not, the party wisely used his image vouching for understudy Fernando Haddad to the point of exhaustion.

Now, the party’s strategy is to keep using the former president’s image, literally saying that “Haddad is Lula, and Lula is Haddad.”

</span></p> <p><span class="embed-youtube" style="text-align:center; display: block;"><iframe class='youtube-player' width='1200' height='675' src=';rel=1&#038;fs=1&#038;autohide=2&#038;showsearch=0&#038;showinfo=1&#038;iv_load_policy=1&#038;wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'></iframe></span></p> <h2>Passing the torch</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Few parties master publicity stunts like the Workers&#8217; Party, and this time was no different. Gathered in front of the Federal Police headquarters in Curitiba (where Lula is serving his sentence), the party&#8217;s top brass gave speeches denouncing what they call a witch hunt and a political persecution. Then, they read a letter from Lula, addressed &#8220;to the Brazilian people.&#8221;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It was filled with attacks on the Justice system, federal prosecutors, and the press. When vouching for his understudy, Lula talks about &#8220;being together with Haddad to carry out a government for the people.&#8221; That part raises the question: how could they run the government together, with Lula in prison? A barely published judicial decision in Brasilia may hold the answer.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Without fanfare, Supreme Court Justice Ricardo Lewandowski issued a decision that could benefit the jailed former president Lula (who appointed him to the court in 2006). Justice Lewandowski <a href="">decided</a> to lift restrictions imposed by the court on presidential pardons. By the current rules, prisoners must serve one-third of their sentence before being eligible for pardon &#8211; but he believes that the threshold should be lowered to one-fifth of the penalty. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Should Mr. Haddad win the election, would Lula be expecting a quick pardon?</span></p> <h2>The campaign from now on</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to the <a href="">latest polls</a>, Fernando Haddad&#8217;s campaign has observed a significant rise &#8211; even before it had officially begun. And that is, make no mistake, all about Lula. Mr. Haddad&#8217;s upward trend puts him as the favorite to get one of the spots in the runoff stage, likely against right-wing opponent Jair Bolsonaro.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If that scenario is confirmed, the election will get even more unpredictable than it already has been. Both Mr. Bolsonaro and the Workers&#8217; Party draw enormous rejection from voters, and a head-to-head contest between the two camps could drive many voters to abstain in the second round. Second round simulations between Mr. Bolsonaro and the other candidates show that he is only competitive when facing Mr. Haddad.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These simulations mean little at this stage, but illustrate how polarized the election should get from now on.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-8600" src="" alt="presidential polls brazil lula bolsonaro haddad" width="1024" height="683" srcset=" 1024w, 300w, 768w, 610w, 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-8601" src="" alt="presidential polls brazil lula bolsonaro haddad" width="1024" height="683" srcset=" 1024w, 300w, 768w, 610w, 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <hr /> <h2>Fernando Haddad&#8217;s track record</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A 55-year-old political science professor at the University of São Paulo, Fernando Haddad joined the federal government in 2003, as a little-known advisor to then-Minister of Planning Guido Mantega. Two years later, he was named Minister of Education and, in 2012, entered his first election ever &#8211; becoming the mayor of São Paulo.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When he was ahead of the Ministry of Education, Mr. Haddad led praised initiatives such as the Enem, a national college entrance system that symplified students&#8217; access to universities. Working like a Brazilian version of the American SATs, it created a system in which the results of one exam can be used to apply for multiple schools. Despite a few bumps in the road in early years, with repeated leaks of the test&#8217;s answers, it developed into a well-functioning student assessment method.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On the flip side, his tenure saw one of the biggest headaches for former president Dilma Rousseff&#8217;s administration. In 2011, the Ministry of Education launched an anti-homophobia campaign, with textbooks and videos aiming at reducing discrimination in schools. Detractors called it &#8220;The Gay Kit,&#8221; and said that the government &#8220;was teaching kids how to become homosexuals.&#8221; The subject will surely resurface during this campaign, as far-right Jair Bolsonaro has been one of its most vocal critics over the years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As mayor of São Paulo, Mr. Haddad was praised by the UN for his efforts in modernizing urban planning in Latin America&#8217;s largest city &#8211; even if he could concretely do little, as his initiatives were boycotted by opponents. However, he lost re-election and left office in 2016 as one of the worst-evaluated mayors in São Paulo&#8217;s recent history. Many accuse him of prioritizing high-income areas, to the detriment of the city&#8217;s poor suburbs.

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