Brazil's top electoral court bars Lula da Silva from running for presidency

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Brazil's highest electoral court on Friday night ruled that Luiz Inacia Lula da Silva, the popular Leftist former president who is serving a 12-year prison term for corruption, can not stand in October's presidential election.

Lula, 72, was leading in polls ahead of the vote despite serving a 12-year jail term for accepting a bribe.

Incarcerated Former President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lila da Silva has been barred by the higest electoral court in Brazil from contesting the country's Presidential election in October from jail because of he has been convicted for corruption by a criminal court. It is widely expected to cast Lula's candidate for vice president, Fernando Haddad, as his replacement. His party workers have registered him as its presidential candidate for the October 7 vote claiming he is innocent.

"01 de septiembre de 2018, 11:39Brasilia, Sep 1 (Prensa Latina) The Workers" Party (PT) denounced today the existence in Brazil of "a legal system for the powerful and a system of exception for Lula", who has been a political prisoner for more than 145 days.

"We will present all appeals before the courts for the recognition of the rights of Lula provided by law and worldwide treaties ratified by Brazil", said the party in a statement. The ruling comes after the UN Human Rights Committee appealed to the Brazilian government, asking it to allow the former president to exercise his political rights.

Lula is ineligible for office under Brazil's "Clean Slate" law, which prohibits candidates from running if they have convictions that have been upheld on appeal. Finally, the PT stressed that Lula's candidacy is the response from the Brazilian people to those who usurped power (through the parliamentary-judicial coup perpetrated in 2016 against Constitutional President Dilma Roussef).

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The Supreme Electoral Court barred Lula from running because it would violate an anti-corruption law that the former president himself signed.

Lula's case was a last-minute addition to the Superior Electoral Court's extraordinary session, where seven magistrates in Brasilia began hearing it at 5:00 pm (2000 GMT).

He vehemently denies the accusations and has dismissed the charges as a political plot aimed at preventing him from standing in the elections.

He was found guilty in July 2017 and then lost his first appeal in January.

The end of Lula's candidacy opens the electoral field to runner-up Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing former soldier whose platform includes gun legalisation and weaker environmental regulations.

The former firebrand union leader led Brazil during a booming period from 2003 and 2010, promoting social policies that pulled millions from poverty.