Yesterday, former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva pulled out of next month’s presidential election. His running mate, Sao Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad, will stand in his place.
His withdrawal from the election is the latest development in a shameful campaign by the country’s elite to prevent Lula from regaining the presidency. Despite being imprisoned on trumped-up corruption charges, Lula was the leading candidate and one of the most popular politicians in Brazil.
“We know this struggle is bigger than one person—it is about democracy, about economic fairness, and it is about curbing corporate power,” said Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union. “Lula may not be on the ballot, but the global labour movement continues to stand with him and with the millions of Brazilians who want a government that respects working people and human rights.”
The country’s Superior Electoral ruled that Lula was “ineligible” to run for the presidency, and yesterday his Workers Party put Haddad on the top of the ballot to ensure that the party would have a candidate in the election.
Lula released an open letter to the Brazilian people, calling for them to mobilise for his replacement. He wrote, “Fernando Haddad … will be my representative in this battle … If they think they can silence our voice and defeat our project for this country they are very mistaken. Our name is now Haddad!”
Lula’s cause has won broad support.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee has said that Lula cannot be disqualified from the poll because his legal appeals are still ongoing.
UNI and labour groups from around the world have mobilised on Lula’s behalf. General Secretary Hoffman and the Regional Secretary of UNI Americas Marcio Monzane have written to the President of Brazil’s Supreme Court demanding that Lula be released from prison immediately, so that he can stand in the Presidential elections.
UNI Americas Regional Secretary Monzane said, “We are working together with our Brazilian affiliates to do all that we can to right this injustice. We count on the support of our brothers and sisters not only in Latin America but across the world.”
For more information on this ongoing struggle, click here.