MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, August 13th 2022 - 01:26 UTC



Retrial of Lula da Silva makes him a formidable rival for Bolsonaro's reelection; financial markets rattled

Tuesday, March 9th 2021 - 09:55 UTC
Full article 7 comments
Financial analysts said the prospect of a Lula candidacy would likely drive Bolsonaro to further embrace populist measures to shore up support. (Rahel Patrasso/Reuters) Financial analysts said the prospect of a Lula candidacy would likely drive Bolsonaro to further embrace populist measures to shore up support. (Rahel Patrasso/Reuters)

The decision to annul former president Lula da Silva's conviction had an immediate effect in financial markets and scrambled forecasts for the 2022 Brazilian presidential race, with many investors betting it would polarize voters between right-wing populist president Jair Bolsonaro, and Lula, a left-wing populist but also his greatest opponent.

In a surprise decision, Supreme Court Justice Edson Fachin said a court in the southern city of Curitiba had lacked the authority to try Lula on corruption charges and that he must be retried in federal courts in the capital Brasilia.

Bolsonaro, speaking to reporters in Brasilia, said he hoped the decision is overturned when it is reviewed by the full Supreme Court. He added that he did not believe Brazilians wanted Lula to run next year. The office of Brazil’s prosecutor general said it will appeal the decision.

Brazil’s Real sank around 1.5% to a fresh four-month low after the news and the Bovespa stock index fell 4%. The Real closed at 5.7779 per dollar, its weakest since May last year.

Financial analysts said the prospect of a Lula candidacy would likely drive Bolsonaro to abandon economic reforms he ran on in 2018 and further embrace populist measures to shore up support.

“With Lula eligible, the chance of this current government going totally towards populism increases even more,” said Alfredo Menezes, managing partner at Armor Capital.

Lula, 75, governed Latin America’s biggest country and largest economy between 2003 and 2011, overseeing a commodities boom that turbocharged economic growth.

In 2018, he was convicted of taking bribes from engineering firms in return for public contracts and spent a year and a half behind bars, until the Supreme Court ruled he and others could appeal their cases without serving time.

Lula and his supporters blasted the anti-corruption task force that brought him down, called Operation Car Wash, as a politically driven effort. Leaked conversations in 2019 raised questions about whether investigators had cut corners to secure prosecutions. The task force was disbanded in February.

In a note, Lula’s legal team said the decision on Monday was recognition that the former president was innocent. His conviction had prevented him from running for another presidential term in 2018.

The charismatic former union leader is a polarizing figure but still beloved by much of Brazil’s working class for bringing millions out of poverty through generous social welfare programs.

Lula is the only one of 10 potential 2022 candidates who outperformed president Bolsonaro in a survey by polling company Ipec, published in newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo last week.

It found that 50% of the 2,002 people it interviewed “would certainly” or “could” vote for Lula, compared with 38% for Bolsonaro. Some 44% of respondents said they would never vote for Lula, while 56% would never vote for Bolsonaro, the poll found.

With information from Reuters

Categories: Politics, Brazil.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • Terence Hill

    Brazil Supreme Court Judge Annuls Lula’s Carwash Convictions
    By Simone Preissler Iglesias
    8 March 2021, 16:01 GMT-3 Updated on 8 March 2021, 16:48 GMT-3
    Move clears path for Lula to run for president in 2022
    “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last” Martin Luther King Jr.”

    Mar 09th, 2021 - 10:10 am -1
  • Chicureo

    You would expect a seriously demented mentally challenged idiot to link the great speech of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to one of the most corrupt immoral thieves that has plundered Brazil.

    Perhaps Teresa would like to share her demented fixations about Brazilian filthy-toilet-paper and her bizarre health claims of self imbibing her own urine.

    ¡Saludos de Chile!

    Mar 09th, 2021 - 12:51 pm -1
  • Terence Hill

    Chicureo Pervert, Psychological Transferee, Malignant Narcissist, Criminal Libeller, Alcoholic, Spam King, a wannabe genocidist, misogynist, and oral fixation

    We can give your unproven opinion the same weight as all your other unproven opinions.
    No proof no truth.

    Mar 09th, 2021 - 03:15 pm -1
Read all comments

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!