Gleisi Hoffman: Why we don’t give up on Lula’s Candidacy

Despite being held as a political prisoner, with no material evidence justifying the charges made against him, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva continues to lead all presidential election polls by a wide margin, with twice the support of his nearest competitor, 6 times more support than any other left candidate, and 30 times the support of Guilherme Boulos (PSOL), who is now being treated as the heir apparent for the Brazilian left by Anglo corporate media as well as left press outlets like Jacobin. However, missing from this coverage is that the PT party still insists that Lula will run for the Presidency from behind bars if necessary, as Bobby Sands did for British Parliament from the Maze penitentiary in 1981. In this article, PT National President and Senator Gleisi Hoffmann explains why. 

By Gleisi Hoffmann.

Lula is innocent. We know about his life and how it is dedicated to the Brazilian people. And we know the faults, failures and arbitrary elements of the legal process which condemned him. Police, public prosecutors and biased judges acted with political motives, in collaboration with Rede Globo and the big media companies, to remove Lula from the electoral process. Lula was imprisoned in a rushed and illegal procedure, before his appeals process had finished. It was a decision that will definitely be annulled in the near future.

Lula carries with him the hope and confidence of the most expressive portion of the Brazilian people, who want to vote for their greatest leader this October, despite the persecution and his arbitrary imprisonment. The vast majority of the population knows that the haste to arrest Lula served the needs of his political opponents, who do not accept the electoral victories of the PT.

This perception is confirmed by all serious, quantitative and qualitative studies. The majority of people interviewed believe that the arbitrary imprisonment serves the needs of the powerful, who want to gain more for themselves without Lula in the government. The sectors of the judiciary are “playing the game of Lula’s adversaries and want to appear important”. And the media “spends too much time attacking Lula and only shows one side”.

Lula’s supporters, who are a wide majority in all polls, hope that PT and its directors will defend him and guarantee the viability of his candidacy to fill the political hole that exists without him, in an election that is happening in such a difficult and troubled moment in the life of the Nation.

The imprisonment of Lula has not changed, in any way, the right of the PT to register his candidacy on August 15. Whatever happens, there is no legal way to defer Lula’s candidacy in advance, contrary to what the Globo pundits are saying.

Even a supposed provisional act of ineligibility can be reversed at any time, according to the law and precedents in the electoral courts and the Supreme Court, even after the election. This is what guarantees Lula’s right to be a candidate, according to the opinion of electoral law specialist and legal scholar Luiz Fernando Casagrande Pereira. It is an opinion which, to date, has not been disputed.

If Lula is innocent, if the majority of the people want to vote for him, if the Constitution guarantees his political rights, why would we not present him as our candidate? Not doing so would be playing the game of his tormentors, who want an election without Lula and are trying, through this manouver,  to give an air of democratic normality to a dispute that would be flawed by the absence of Brazil’s greatest popular leader.

It will not be us, the PT, who will hand over and give up on our leader!

And for those who try to anticipate a supposed ineligibility, mentioning the “Ficha Limpa” (clean slate”) law, observe Article 26 C and its legal precedents.  Whenever any plausible motion is filed against the judgment of condemnation, ineligibility has to be suspended. Recently Lula’s defense filed motions in the Federal Supreme Court and the Federal Supreme Justice Courts against the decision of the 4th Federal Regional Court. Even those who believe the decision of the 4th Court is defensible recognize that Lula’s motions present legally plausible theses.

We know the political and historical responsibility that we have to the Nation. For this reason, we will continue with Lula’s candidacy to the end. The PT has always known to walk the road together with the people, and it won’t be at this moment that we will orient ourselves on evaluations made from outsiders.

Lula is much greater than the prison that is holding him, as a human being and a leader. After 30 days in prison Lula continues present on the national political scene. They have not been able to remove him from the day to day events of the country, or normalize his imprisonment or make him invisible.

We respect and recognize the legitimate rights of all other candidates, mainly those of the left and center left, with whom we maintain permanent dialogue. We will be together, without a doubt, to the end of the electoral process. But due to his experience, his legacy, by the popular opinion, it is Lula who will peacefully fix this country and restore the dignity of the Brazilian people.

This article was translated by Brasil Wire from 247 and can be read in its original Portuguese here.