Electoral tribunal bars Lula’s candidacy; Workers’ Party vows to appeal decision

The tribunal ruled by a majority of 6-1, just weeks after UN Human Rights Council asked the state to ensure Lula could exercise his political rights

Mobilization in support of Lula. Photo Credit: Lula Committee

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Brazil (TSE) voted to bar the candidacy of ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. This comes just 2 weeks after the United Nations Human Rights Council requested the Brazilian state to ensure that Lula can “enjoy and exercise his political rights while in prison, as a candidate to the 2018 presidential elections, including appropriate access to the media and members of his political party.”

On September 1, the TSE ruled 6-1 against Lula after 10 hours of deliberation. The one judge who voted in favor of Lula’s candidacy noted that Brazil should follow the decision of the UN Human Rights Council. Brazil’s Senate confirmed on Thursday August 23 that the country is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its optional protocols. As a signatory, the country must comply with the council’s request regarding Lula’s political rights.

The Workers’ Party immediately released a statement – ‘Against the Political Witch hunt, with Lula until the end’ wherein they declared “We will present all of the appeals in the courts so that the political rights of Lula are recognized, as the law and international treaties ratified with Brazil dictate. We will defend Lula in the streets, along with the people, because he is the candidate of hope.”

Former President Dilma Rouseff, who was overthrown in 2016 in a parliamentary coup, released a statement the day before the court deliberated on Lula’s candidacy: “Recently, the impartiality of justice, already very compromised, was dismantled in one go by the chaos created by some judges, by the prosecution and by the minister of public security. There has been a disruption of the legal order as well as breaches in relationships of hierarchy of judicial power. The possible veto of the candidacy of Lula by the court is now an international scandal after the decision of the Human Rights Council of the UN. Without a doubt, these two facts show to Brazil and to the world, in the clearest way, the persecution and legal farce that resulted in the trial and incarceration of Lula.”

Before ruling on Lula’s candidacy, the court approved the candidacy of Fernando Haddad as vice-president on the Workers’ Party (PT) ticket.

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