Brazil: Lula tops polls as UN backs his political rights

Issue 
Pro-Lula protest in Porto Allegre in January.

Jailed former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has increased his support by five percentage points and would win Brazil’s October presidential election if he was allowed to run, a poll by CNT/MDA showed on August 20.

This news came just days the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee said the Brazilian state must “take all necessary measures” to allow Lula, the candidate of the left-leaning Workers Party (PT), to exercise his full political rights as a candidate in the presidential elections.

The UN committee said Lula should have the right to take part in media events and debates, as well as meet with PT members. It comes despite the fact that the former head of state remains imprisoned at Curitiba’s federal police station. The former president’s jailing is believed by supporters to be a move to stop Lula contesting a race he appears likely to win.

The UN committee said Lula should not be prevented from taking part in the elections until all of his legal appeals have been exhausted, per Brazil’s Constitution.

Lula has continued to stay in touch with supporters and citizens via regular media releases and letters. On August 16, he sent a Twitter message warning about threats to the country's sovereignty.

“Brazil must open its eyes,” Lula said, highlighting unelected President Michel Temer’s move to hand over the Alcantara missile and rocket launching base to the United States.

“An American military base in our territory harms our sovereignty and is a threat to our position of peace and dialogue in the world.”

Ties between the US and Brazil has improved considerably since the impeachment process against elected PT president Dilma Rousseff in 2016.

Since Temer took power in a constitutional coup, his administration has invited the US to use the Alcantara missile and rocket launching base and to conduct joint military exercises in the Amazon.

Despite his conviction and imprisonment for corruption, events that many legal experts and observers attribute to a salacious mainstream media campaign, Lula has topped every 2018 electoral poll conducted by Vox Populi, Ibope, Datafolha, Data Poder 360, Instituto Parana, the National Confederation of Transportation/MDA and Ipsos.

Electoral authorities are still expected to bar Lula from the election due to a controversial corruption conviction. His nearest rival is far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro with 18.3%, followed by evangelist Marina Silva with 5.6% and business-friendly Geraldo Alckmin with 4.9%.

Lula's supporters were asked who they would back if he is out of the race and 17.3% said they would cast their vote for Fernando Haddad, a former Sao Paulo mayor who would head the PT ticket if Lula could not.

[Compiled from TeleSUR English.]