Judge opens door for Lula da Silva to run in Brazil in 2022

March 9, 2021 - 18:6

A Brazilian Supreme Court judge annulled the criminal convictions against former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a move that could allow the popular politician to run in next year’s presidential election.

In a surprise decision, Justice Edson Fachin said that a court in the southern city of Curitiba did not have the authority to try Lula on corruption charges and that he must be retried in federal courts in the capital Brasilia.

The ruling, which will be reviewed by the full Supreme Court, restored Lula’s political rights, potentially blowing open the 2022 presidential race, when right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro is expected to seek re-election.

The country’s prosecutor general’s office said it would appeal the decision, a spokesperson for Prosecutor General Augusto Aras said on Monday.

Lula said in a statement shared on Twitter that the ruling on Monday “affirms the incompetence of the Federal Justice of Curitiba”.

Al Jazeera’s Monica Yanakiew, reporting from Rio de Janeiro, said the court’s decision does not mean Lula has been found innocent of the charges for which he was previously convicted.

“It just means that they tried him in the wrong place and he should be retried,” she said. “But that does have a big political impact because it restores his rights to run in next year’s election.”

Yanakiew said polls before the last Brazilian elections showed that Lula would have won over Jair Bolsonaro, the country’s far-right president.

Bolsonaro said on Monday he hopes the Supreme Court reverses the ruling, and that the judge who annulled Lula’s convictions always had a strong link to Lula’s PT party.

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