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.”