The party of embattled — and imprisoned — ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has pledged to register his presidential bid in August. The Workers Party considers Lula to be a "political prisoner."
Former president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, will be registered as a presidential candidate despite being in currently in jail for corruption and money laundering, the Workers Party said on Monday.
The party said that it considered Lula to be a "political prisoner" and that the former president had been victim of "a violent arrest."
After an eight hour meeting, Workers Party members announced that Lula will continue to be their leader for the presidential bid, and that they planned to register the bid on the August 15 registration deadline.
Party officials also announced the decision to move their organization's headquarters to Curitiba, the southern city where Lula is being held.
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Lula, a popular two-term president, started a 12-year prison sentence on April 7. He gave himself up to police when the Supreme Court of Brazil rejected his appeal to continue delaying the sentence while he challenged the ruling.
The move could be thwarted by Brazil's electoral court, as it holds the power to reject Lula's candidacy due to his conviction. The Workers Party would be able to appeal such a decision, but if that effort fails and they are not able to register a new candidate before September 17, the party would be left without a candidate at all in the October presidential election.
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The leftwing ex-president comfortably leads the presidential election polls, despite the political storm surrounding his conviction. By announcing that he will remain a candidate, the Workers Party hopes to keep his presidential bid alive in case he is able to get out of jail in time for the election.
Lula's lawyer, Cristiano Zanin, said to reporters on Monday that the ex-president was doing well.
"Lula sees himself as a political prisoner. But he has confidence that the courts will soon overturn not only his prison order but also the conviction that was put on him in an unjust and illegal way," Zanin said.
jcg/rt (AP, AFP, EFE)