"Lula Libre, Innocent and Candidate in 2022"
All of the convictions against Lula da Silva, the former Workers' Party president of Brazil, have been annulled. This leaves him free, for now, to run again against far right president Jair Bolsonaro.
Lula after being released from prison, November 2019
There have been celebrations across Brazil and around the world after Brazilian Supreme Court judge Luiz Edson Fachin annulled all of the convictions against former president Lula da Silva (popularly known as Lula) on March 8. These convictions had prevented the highly popular Workers' Party leader from running in the country's elections in 2018 handing them to far right candidate Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro has run a regime catastrophic in every regard from human rights abuses, to the accelerated devastation of the Amazon to his staggeringly inept and deadly mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bolsonaro's election was the culmination of what amounted to a "soft coup" that had begun with the ouster of the democratically elected Workers' Party president Dilma Rousseff in 2016.
Now that Lula's convictions have been annulled he is eligible to run in the upcoming 2022 elections against Bolsonaro. He is widely expected to win although, of course, more actions may be taken by the right in Brazil to try to prevent this.
The Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) issued a statement celebrating the annulment that noted that the "decision is based on respect for the Democratic Rule of Law. In all phases of this march of persecution of former President Lula, the political aspect overlapped with the legal system of the country. Consequently, justice was set aside so that interests contrary to democracy would be imposed."
The statement also warned that:
The decision of Minister Fachin, with the announced appeal of the Attorney General's Office (PGR), will have to be confirmed by the Supreme Court. The democratic day of solidarity with the former president, therefore, is not over. The offensive against him by reactionary forces will also not cease.
Lula's victory comes at a time when the country is experiencing a moment of extreme gravity due to the criminal and genocidal conduct of Bolsonaro.
In a separate statement the (PCdoB) reported that:
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, celebrated: "Lula libre, innocent and candidate in 2022". For the pacifist, what happened was a "judicial war" against Lula. "It was lawfare and his arrest was a coup for democracy in Brazil. (Jair) Bolsonaro is not a legitimate president," he said.
The Opera Mundi website noted that the annulment, which restores Lula's political rights, made headlines in The Guardian ("The decision, which analysts called a political bomb, means Lula will surely challenge Brazil's current president, Jair Bolsonaro, in the 2022 election presidency"), in Al Jazeera ("Fachin's decision opens the door for Lula to appear in 2022") , in Le Monde ("Two and a half years later, in a recent poll, Lula appears to be the only one capable of defeating President Jair Bolsonaro in the upcoming 2022 elections").
Argentine president Alberto Fernández tweeted Lula "has been rehabilitated in all his political rights. The sentences against him that were handed down for the sole purpose of persecuting him and eliminating him from his political career were overturned. Justice has been done! Lula is free."
Meanwhile, Celso Amorim Chairman of the Free Lula International Committee, issued a statement saying:
Besides joy, I can’t help being struck by a sort of emotion for the work we have done together, and that I wish to share with all members of the Committee here and the world over. Even without overrating the impact of our actions, I see today’s decision also as a victory of all democrats who fought for this goal. Some are gone, as our Kjeld. But they will keep on inspiring us. As the comrades of Frelimo would say: the fight goes on and the victory is certain!