After 580 days, Lula is free.
The former president who left office in 2010 as the most popular politician in Brazilian history was barred from taking part in the 2018 elections thanks to his legal situation, even though polls indicated he was the favored candidate. Without Lula, his center-left Workers’ Party lost most of its mojo, falling into near-irrelevance in the Brazil of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.
The clock flashed 5:43 pm when Lula left the Federal Police headquarters in Curitiba. He was one of the roughly 5,000 convicted felons who benefited from Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling to prevent prison sentences from being enforced before all appeal routes are exhausted.