The Return of Lula

R.io de J.aneiro, B.razil –After the Supreme Court overturned Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s convictions in Operation Car Wash on March 7, the left-wing former Brazilian president regained his political rights and can stand as a candidate in the 2022 presidential elections. Lula’s comeback could also force current right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro to soften his tone, but the prospect of a match between the two men has already fueled Brazil’s left and right.

Supreme Court Minister Edson Fachin ruled that the Curitiba court convicting Da Silva of corruption and money laundering resulting from the Car Wash investigation did not have proper jurisdiction and ordered that the cases should instead be prosecuted by the federal court in Brasília, the country’s capital.

The former president had been sentenced to 12 years in prison, and under Brazilian law, the conviction meant that Lula’s name could not appear on the ballot paper when Bolsonaro was elected president in 2018.

In recent years, Lula and his supporters have claimed that the convictions were a politically motivated framework. Those allegations gained credibility when Sérgio Moro, the former federal judge who oversaw Operation Carwash and directed Lula’s conviction, was appointed Attorney General by President Bolsonaro. But it wasn’t until a source leaked a huge amount of documents to Glenn Greenwald that he did published in The Interceptthat Lula could prove that the judge had actually worked with prosecutors.

“We have always been right in this lengthy legal battle in which we never had to change our foundations to demonstrate the innocence of former President Lula and the legislation being practiced against him,” he said Lula’s lawyers in a statement.

After his political rights were restored, Lula returned to the combat-ready political game. Last Wednesday, the former president spoke publicly for the first time since his justification. Although he said it was “too early” to think about running, his speech had a conciliatory tone that suggested a shift from the ferocity with which he had kept his innocence to an electoral strategy.

“This country is disorganized and disaggregated because it has no government,” said the former president, who also called Bolsonaro’s response to the pandemic was “moronic”.

Before his own constituents, Lula enumerated the country’s economic challenges and defended income support policies, especially during the pandemic. However, he also tried to calm the markets and urged business leaders “not to be afraid of me.”

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