SÃO PAULO, Brazil – Brazil's highest electoral court ruled on Friday that former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, serving a 12-year prison sentence for corruption, can not run for a third term and eliminate the leader in a race many see it as a struggle between democracy and a due process
. Da Silva, a two-time president who left office in 2011 with a record approval rating, has become a polar figure. Many supporters remain loyal to the metalworker, who has risen from factory floor to presidency and has improved the lives of millions of the poorest in the country, giving him a broad lead in polls before the October 7 election.
In a survey published in August by the Datafolha research facility, Mr. da Silva slightly cited his rivals. 39 percent of Brazilians said they would vote for him, followed by Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain who was supported by 19 percent of voters expected. His fall resolves an already fragmented race just five weeks before the vote.
Like other political giants of the Latin American Left, Mr. da Silva has failed to prepare a new generation of leaders. Excluded from the breed, he is expected to officially support his deputy candidate Fernando Haddad, a former mayor of São Paulo, as a Labor Party candidate.
But it is unclear whether his support base, especially in the impoverished Northeast, would shift his loyalty to Mr. Haddad, an economist, lawyer, and university professor with little national recognition.
In simulations that exclude Mr. da Silva, Bolsonaro takes the lead with 22 percent, followed by former Environment Minister Marina Silva, with 16 percent. Mr. Haddad has only chosen 4 percent.
In an extended Special Session of the Electoral Tribunal, which began on Friday and ended after midnight, a majority of the seven judges voted to prevent Mr. Da Silva from running, and you decided that his party had 10 days to put him on the ballot to replace.
The verdict was generally expected on account of the corruption conviction, but the Labor Party had insisted Mr. Da Silva, known as Lula, on the ballot, arguing that he was the victim of political persecution.
"If you prevent the country's most popular leader from running for election, the risk for Brazilian democracy is very high." The party leader, Gleisi Hoffmann, warned in an interview before the decision.
Fernando Henrique Cardoso, the predecessor of Da Silva, responded in a opinion article that the country is referred to as "democracy in ruins", in which the rule of law had given way to arbitrary action "could make political sense for Mr da Silva but was not true The process that put Mr da Silva in jail shows the strength of the Brazilian institutions, argued Cardoso
"The trials he was involved in followed a proper process and were in accordance with the Constitution and the constitution carried out the rule of law, "Mr. Cardoso wrote.
Mr. Da Silva was convicted of corruption and money laundering last year after being accused of accepting a seaside apartment that was converted to his liking as a bribe. An appellate court upheld the conviction in January and sentenced him to 12 years He was arrested in April following a dramatic police incident while awaiting trial for other allegations of corruption
Under the so-called Clean Slate Act, which came into force in 2010 while Mr da Silva was president Candidates expelled from office to stand as candidates if a criminal conviction was confirmed on appeal.
Nonetheless, Mr. da Silva has maintained his innocence and support has been received from left-wing leaders around the globe as well as from the United Nations Human Rights Committee for Human Rights, calling for the Brazilian government to allow Mr. Da Silva to defend his political life Exercise rights as a candidate.
The Workers Party announced its candidacy to the Electoral Court on 15 August. Mr. da Silva kept his election campaign in front of his eyes in the prison cell in Curitiba, which provides handwritten instructions to his legal department, which includes Haddad.
The party argues that the ruling was rushed just a few hours before the free television and radio campaign k kicks off. But rival candidates have campaigned for a quick decision to plan their campaign strategies.
"In this polarized moment, the best alternative to the good of Brazil is that the final composition of the presidential candidates is resolved quickly, transparently and collegially," said Luís Roberto Barroso, the judge who directs the case.