Mar 8, 2021 - World

Lula's convictions annulled in Brazil, raising chance of 2022 run

Photo of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva with his hand covering his mouth

Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

A Brazilian Supreme Court judge annulled criminal convictions against former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Monday, per Reuters.

Why it matters: The move allows the popular leftist politician to run in next year's presidential election in a potentially polarizing face-off against President Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right populist who has defended Brazil's military dictatorship.

Details: Justice Edson Fachin ruled that a court in the southern city of Curitiba lacked the authority to try Lula on corruption charges, stating that Lula must be retried in federal courts in the capital Brasilia.

  • Lula was convicted of accepting bribes in exchange for public contracts in 2018. He spent a year and a half in jail until the Supreme Court decided he could appeal his case without serving a sentence.
  • His legal team said Monday the judge's decision affirms that Lula is innocent, per Reuters.

For the record: Lula and his supporters have argued that the criminal cases that led to his downfall were politically driven.

  • Leaked conversations in 2019 showed that the judge who oversaw Lula's case gave prosecutors guidance on strategy in violation of rules of conduct.

Of note: Bolsonaro told reporters Monday he hoped the decision would be overturned by the full Supreme Court, according to Reuters.

  • The office of Brazil's prosecutor general said it plans to appeal the decision.

The big picture: Lula, who remains well-loved by the working class, is the only one of 10 potential 2022 candidates who outperformed Bolsonaro in a survey published last week, per Reuters.

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