By Bridget Anderson
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was officially nominated as the Workers Party (PT) candidate for the forthcoming Presidential election in Brazil at the party’s national convention held on Saturday 4 August. He is supported by a broad coalition of left wing political parties and organisations in Brazil.
Lula is by far the most popular candidate in the race. Should there be a free and fair election in October the most likely outcome is that Lula would win and become the next President.
The US and the right wing in Brazil are perfectly aware of this fact and have therefore sought to rig the election by keeping Lula off the ballot paper. Lula has been in jail since 7 April after bourgeois courts, allied to the US, convicted him of corruption and sentenced him to 12 years in prison.
The left are campaigning to get their candidate freed from prison in time for the election. This is a basic democratic demand. The people of Brazil have the right to choose their next President – and their choice of candidates should not be dictated by an unelected, conservative judiciary that is politically hostile to the left.
As part of the left’s campaign to get Lula released from prison, over 80,000 people joined the ‘Free Lula Festival’ in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday 28 July. Another protest in planned in Brasilia later this month to demand that the Supreme Electoral Court accept Lula’s nomination and put him on the ballot paper.
Lula continues to be the most popular political figure in Brazil because of his record of championing the working class and oppressed. During his eight years as President Lula’s government brought millions of people out of poverty and implemented a wave of progressive social reforms. Lula continues to be ahead of all rivals in the latest opinion polls, with 30 per cent supporting his Presidential bid. His closest rival is the far right politician Bolsonaro who is polling around 20 per cent.
The Workers Party has announced that if Lula is barred from running in October’s election then Fernando Haddad will become the presidential candidate. A recent survey by Datafolha says that 47 per cent would ‘certainly’ or ‘perhaps’ vote for a candidate endorsed by Lula.
The campaign to free Lula has received international support including from the left in the US. Bernie Sanders and Congressional Black Caucus members Bobby Rush, Keith Ellison and Maxine Waters were among 29 US lawmakers to sign a letter addressed to the Brazilian Ambassador to the US. The letter states: ‘The facts of Lula’s case lead us to believe that the main objective of his jailing is to prevent him from running in upcoming elections.’
Lula is a political prisoner – he should be released from jail and allowed to stand for President in a free and fair election.
Support Lula – join the solidarity activities in Britain
- Lula Livre – FREE LULA! Join the protest on Monday 13 August at 5pm outside the Embassy of Brazil in London. Click here for more information.
- Brazil: stand up for democracy and social progress – stand with Lula. Public meeting on Thursday 13 September at 6.30pm at Unite the Union HQ. Click here for the details.