Brazil's highest electoral court on Friday night ruled that Luiz Inacia Lula da Silva, the popular Leftist former president who is serving a 12-year prison term for corruption, can not stand in October's presidential election.
Lula's Workers' Party is expected to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court and has until September 17 to replace Lula with another candidate or forfeit the ticket.
Six of seven justices from the Supreme Electoral Tribunal in Brasilia ruled that Lula was ineligible to run in October, while one voted in favor in a hearing stretching late into Friday night.
Currently Haddad is candidate for vice president.
Lula's left-wing Workers' Party (PT) nevertheless registered him as its presidential candidate for the October 7 vote, given his seemingly unbridled popularity among supporters.
"This is a week that will shame the judiciary forever", the party said in a statement to The Guardian, arguing that the clean slate law only banned candidates after all appeals processes were exhausted. The court had also ignored a recommendation by the United Nations Human Rights Committee to restore Lula's political rights which he appeals his conviction, it said.
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"We will present all appeals before the courts for the recognition of the rights of Lula provided by law and worldwide treaties ratified by Brazil". Finally, the PT stressed that Lula's candidacy is the response from the Brazilian people to those who usurped power (through the parliamentary-judicial coup perpetrated in 2016 against Constitutional President Dilma Roussef).
A majority of Brazil's top electoral court shot down late Friday the candidacy of popular leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in the country's upcoming presidential vote, telling the jailed former leader he can not participate in October's critical election.
The former trade union leader vehemently denies the accusations and has dismissed the charges as a political plot aimed at preventing him from standing in the elections. Vice-presidential running mate Fernando Haddad, a former mayor of Sao Paulo, is now expected to head the ticket hoping to inherit the bulk of Lula's votes.
But he is adored by millions of Brazilians due to the prosperity Brazil enjoyed under his leadership from 2003 to 2010.
An appeal in January not only saw the court uphold his original conviction, but also increase the length of the sentence by two-and-a-half years.
Lula's social media followers remain upbeat, though.