Brazil Workers' party selects backup to jailed presidential candidate
Brazil Brazil Workers' party selects backup to jailed presidential candidate
Workersâ party hopes voters will be drawn to former SÃ£o Paulo mayor whose campaign will be based on âthe unwavering defenseâ of ex-president Lula da Silva
Brazilâs left-leaning Workersâ party has announced that Fernando Haddad will become its presidential candidate if, as expected, jailed ex-president Luiz InÃ¡cio Lula da Silva is barred from running in the October election.
The announcement by party chairwoman Gleisi Hoffman immediately propels the former SÃ£o Paulo mayor, a candidate who has barely registered in the polls thus far, to one of the leading contenders to become Brazilâs next president.
Hoffmann said that Haddad âwill travel nationwide carrying Lulaâs voiceâ, 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 yearâs 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, Brazilâs electoral co urt makes final decisions on candidacies, and the Workersâ party is holding out hope of the political equivalent of a miracle.The fate of Lula da Silva is the very fate of Brazilian democracy | Letters Read more
A 55-year-old economist, lawyer and university professor, Haddad was education minister under Workersâ party presidents Lula and Dilma Rousseff, then won election as mayor of Brazilâs largest city in 2012. He oversaw improvements to transportation infrastructure in SÃ£o 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 Lulaâs 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 DâÃvila, a young and telegenic state legislator from the Communist party of Brazil, which has drawn about 2m votes in recent presidential races.
âLula 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,â the Workersâ party chairwoman said.
As part of the arrangement, DâÃvila gave up her own presidential bid. The Workersâ party will have the Communists as its junior partner, along with a handful of other small parties on the left.Brazil: Lula supporters hope release is near after weekend of legal drama Read more
Lula remains a towering political figure even from behind bars. The labor leader turned president oversaw a dr amatic rise in Brazilâs 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 Lulaâs popularity somewhat, many backers believe his conviction was unfair and politically motivated.
Haddad said the campaign will be based âon the unwavering defense of Lula, the biggest political leader of Brazilâ.
âOnce more we are united around him. We are going to the fifth presidential victory in a row,â he said during the announcement. Haddad was responsible for crafting the Workersâ party platform for the election.
While the Workersâ 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.Topics
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