Lula launches presidential campaign with defiant message “I will not give up”
Photo Joyce Fonseca
In a move aimed at bringing Brazil back on the road to democracy, the Brazilian Workers’ Party yesterday registered Lula’s candidacy for the October 7 presidential elections. However, in an attempt to set yet another roadblock to that return to democracy, Brazil’s prosecutor-general immediately filed to bar Lula’s candidacy because of an unjust conviction. The former President has been in jail since April after being convicted on trumped up corruption charges. Electoral authorities have until September 17 to rule on whether Lula can be a candidate, less than a month before the vote.
Workers’ Party President Gleisi Hoffmann, addressing the tens-of-thousands of Lula’s supporters who had gathered in the capital Brasilia to witness the registration of his candidacy, read a letter from the imprisoned former President:
"I registered my candidacy for the presidency of the republic..., certain that I can do a lot to pull Brazil from one of its worst crises in history. I will only not be a candidate if I die, give up or am ripped from the race by electoral authorities. I don't expect to die. I will not give up. And I will fight for my rights in the electoral justice system until the end."
UNI Global Union, as part of a concerted campaign by the international labour movement, is demanding that the Brazilian authorities allow Lula’s candidacy for President and set him free.
UNI’s General Secretary Christy Hoffman said, “Lula’s registration as a presidential candidate gives the Brazilian authorities a stark choice. They can either block it or allow him to stand and set Brazil once again on the road to democracy and the fair redistribution of wealth.”
Hoffman and UNI America’s Regional Secretary Marcio Monzane have written to the President of the Supreme Court demanding that Lula be released from prison immediately and be allowed stand in the Presidential elections. Opinion polls show that if Lula is allowed to stand, he will win.
The former President remains in jail despite one Brazilian judge ordering his release. The judge ruled that Lula’s imprisonment was unlawful, but his decision was reversed by judges close to the neo-liberal elite. Lula’s conviction is on appeal, but despite this, it is feared that his candidacy will be blocked so long as he remains in prison. The former Mayor of Sao Paulo, Fernando Haddad was registered as Lula's running mate yesterday and is expected to stand as the Workers’ Party’s presidential candidate if Lula is denied.
UNI affiliates TAKE ACTION, please get on twitter now and show your support for Lula during this critical period when his candidacy will either be allowed or denied. Please demand his release and call for him to be allowed to stand in the Presidential elections, using these hashtags - #FreeLula #LulaLivre