Brazil's Lula to announce next year if will run for president

Brasília (AFP) –


Brazil's left-wing former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Friday he would announce "at the start of next year" whether or not he will run for the presidency in October 2022.

Lula, 75, has been flying high in opinion polls, well clear of incumbent far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

"I've been saying I'm not a candidate because I will only decide on my possible candidacy at the beginning of next year," said Lula at a press conference in the capital Brasilia.

"I haven't decided yet because I will decide when the time is right and I will talk to everyone."

Lula, whose decision on his possible candidacy has been eagerly awaited, spent the week meeting political leaders in Brasilia.

The former trade union leader was unable to contest the last election in 2018 as he was serving a jail sentence for graft.

But he once again became eligible to run for office when in March the supreme court overturned his conviction.

Lula said next year's election would be a chance to "fight a lot so that we can fix this country."

"The country will have to have enough judgement so that the day of the election it elects someone that respects democracy ... and doesn't say stupid things the whole time," added Lula in a clear reference to Bolsonaro.

"He should shut his mouth and govern."

The latest opinion poll from the Datafolha institute on September 17 gave Lula, who was president from 2003-2010, 44 percent voter intentions compared to just 26 percent for Bolsonaro.