Brazil Workers' party selects backup to jailed presidential candidate

Posted by On 9:05 AM

Brazil Workers' party selects backup to jailed presidential candidate

Brazil Brazil Workers' party selects backup to jailed presidential candidate

Workers’ party hopes voters will be drawn to former São Paulo mayor whose campaign will be based on ‘the unwavering defense’ of ex-president Lula da Silva

Brazil’s Workers’ party has named former mayor of São Paulo, Fernando Haddad, as its backup should jailed ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva be barred from running.
Brazil’s Workers’ party has named former mayor of São Paulo, Fernando Haddad, as its backup should jailed ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva be barred from running. Photograph: Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images

Brazil’s left-leaning Workers’ party has announced that Fernando Haddad will become its presidential candidate if, as expected, jailed ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is barred from running in the October election.

The announcement by party chairwoman Gleisi Hoffman immediately propels the former São Paulo mayor, a candidate who has barely registered in the polls thus far, to one of the leading contenders to become Brazil’s next president.

Hoffmann said that Haddad “will travel nationwide carrying Lula’s voice”, making him a surrogate for a once wildly popular leader who still garners much support despite mounting legal problems. Polls show Lula with a clear lead in this year’s race even though a corruption conviction will almost certainly block his candidacy.

Lula says he is innocent and is still appealing the conviction, which by law makes him ineligible to run for office. However, Brazil’s electoral co urt makes final decisions on candidacies, and the Workers’ party is holding out hope of the political equivalent of a miracle.

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A 55-year-old economist, lawyer and university professor, Haddad was education minister under Workers’ party presidents Lula and Dilma Rousseff, then won election as mayor of Brazil’s largest city in 2012. He oversaw improvements to transportation infrastructure in São Paulo along with a drug reduction program, giving him a reputation for competence.

But he proved an uncharismatic politician and failed to even make the runoffs in his attempt at re-election in 2016. So the party is gambling that voters will vote for an uninspiring candidate seen as Lula’s man.

Political analyst Alberto Almeida, author of The Vote of The Brazilians, said he expects the link with Lula means Haddad will at least propel him into the top two in the fir st round of voting on 7 October, qualifying him for the runoff three weeks later.

Hoffman said that Haddad would drop even out of the vice-presidential race if Lula is allowed to run, leaving the running-mate slot to Manuela D’Ávila, a young and telegenic state legislator from the Communist party of Brazil, which has drawn about 2m votes in recent presidential races.

“Lula asked us to make a formal request for Manuela to be candidate for vice president. Her candidacy had an important role to build this unity,” the Workers’ party chairwoman said.

As part of the arrangement, D’Ávila gave up her own presidential bid. The Workers’ party will have the Communists as its junior partner, along with a handful of other small parties on the left.

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Lula remains a towering political figure even from behind bars. The labor leader turned president oversaw a dr amatic rise in Brazil’s economy from 2002-2010, pulling millions from poverty and making the country a prominent player on the world stage.

But in the past few years, with Lula out of office, the political mood has darkened as the economy has slumped and a far-reaching corruption investigation has ensnared hundreds of politicians and businessmen â€" including Lula.

While that dented Lula’s popularity somewhat, many backers believe his conviction was unfair and politically motivated.

Haddad said the campaign will be based “on the unwavering defense of Lula, the biggest political leader of Brazil”.

“Once more we are united around him. We are going to the fifth presidential victory in a row,” he said during the announcement. Haddad was responsible for crafting the Workers’ party platform for the election.

While the Workers’ party under Lula and Rousseff has won the past four presidential elections, it has been out of power since Rousse ff was impeached and removed in 2016.

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Source: Google News South Brazil | Netizen 24 Brazil

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