A majority of the judges of the Brazilian Supreme Court have confirmed an earlier decision to destroy the criminal conviction of former President Lula. With this, Lula is closer to returning to the highest political scene and incumbent President Bolsonaro may have a formidable opponent.
The decision follows the previous annulment of the convictions by one of the Supreme Court judges. He ruled at the beginning of last month that the court in the city of Curitiba, which condemned Lula, had no jurisdiction to judge, among other things, a corruption scandal.
The sentences have been annulled for procedural reasons and do not constitute an acquittal for the former President. It remains to be decided whether the cases will still be forwarded for consideration to courts in the capital Brasilia or São Paulo. However, Lula no longer has a criminal record and can therefore, in principle, take part in next year‘s presidential elections.
The 75-year-old Lula, who was president from 2003 to 2010, was sentenced to over 12 years of corruption and money laundering in 2018 and was therefore unable to participate in the presidential elections of that year. He’s always denied all allegations. Lula and his supporters consider the case against him politically motivated.
In an interview with the Portuguese public channel RTP, Lula said two weeks ago that he wants to participate in the presidential elections in principle, if he remains healthy and if necessary. “Bolsonaro cannot remain president,” he said.
According to recent polls, Lula could win over Bolsonaro. It is under attack in his own country because of his expert approach to the coronacrisis. Bolsonaro hoped that the court would maintain the convictions.