Lula appeals to UN in desperate bid to gain access to election

Curitiba (Brazil) (AFP) –


Leftist ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will appeal his barring from October's elections to the United Nations and Brazil's Supreme Court, the man set to replace him on the ballot said Monday.

The appeal will be accompanied by a request to suspend Friday's decision by the Superior Electoral Court to prevent Lula from running for a potential third term as president because he is serving a 12-year jail sentence for accepting a bribe.

After visiting Lula in prison in the southern city of Curitiba, Workers' Party potential candidate Fernando Haddad said he had informed the former head of state of "all the possibilities at his disposal."

Haddad pointed to recent backing from the UN Human Rights Committee that said the left-wing icon could not be barred from elections while his legal appeals are ongoing.

The electoral court had disqualified Lula on the grounds of the country's clean-slate law that prevents anyone who has lost an appeal against a conviction from running for office.

Lula was convicted in July 2017 and then lost an initial appeal in January, although he hasn't given up finding an avenue to overturn his sentence.

The electoral court gave Lula's Workers' Party until September 12 to nominate a replacement and banned the 72-year-old from campaigning.

Lula has already picked runningmate Haddad as his potential replacement should he fail to secure a place on the ballot paper, but the former Sao Paulo mayor does not command anywhere near the same popularity as his illustrious comrade.

Lula remains hugely popular in Latin America's biggest economy after lifting tens of millions out of poverty during his 2003-2010 rule.

But he was convicted on charges of accepting a seaside apartment as a bribe from a major construction company seeking government contracts.

Opponents and prosecutors say he is properly being punished for high-level corruption revealed through the epic "Car Wash" graft probe that also saw his hand-picked successor Dilma Rousseff impeached.