23:51 GMT01 April 2020
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    Legal hurdles keeping Brazil's Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from running in the 2018 Brazilian presidential election are proof that "dirty tricks" are being played in order to prevent the left-wing candidate from moving forward in the October race, author Arnold August told Sputnik.

    Lula has been in jail since early April, when the country's Supreme Court ruled he must begin to serve out the 12-year jail sentence he was dealt for his corruption conviction in 2017. Lula, who served as the president of Brazil from 2003 to 2010, was found guilty of accepting a seaside apartment from a construction firm in exchange for political favors. The 72-year-old politician has repeatedly denied accusations he took a bribe.

    It was reported on Thursday that Lula, despite leading polls, was preparing to give up his presidential bid after he lost two Supreme Court appeals challenging the country's electoral law, which states that candidates convicted of a crime are banned from running for eight years.

    Three sources familiar with the case told Reuters Thursday that Lula would be handing over a letter to his running mate, Fernando Haddad, that will reportedly urge his own supporters to vote for Haddad as the presidential candidate for the Workers Party. However, Haddad has recently come into his own legal troubles.

    ​August told Radio Sputnik's By Any Means Necessary on Friday that accusations against Lula, and by extension Haddad, are all part of obvious "dirty tricks" that raise "questions of political manipulation."

    "I would say that it's a preemptive coup d'etat, because the general consensus from all sides of the political spectrum in Brazil, and even internationally, is that Lula is ahead of the polls and that if he was out campaigning, he would easily win the election," he told host Eugene Puryear. "It's a preemptive coup, in my opinion."

    According to August, the best move for Lula's supporters would be to keep on pushing for their candidate and simply have him as a write-in candidate come election day. "Let all hell break loose… they should continue to support [Lula] as a president — as a write-in candidate — even at the expense of disrupting the election," he said.

    Aside from Lula's rejected appeals, the first week of September also saw a bloody moment when right-wing presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro was stabbed Thursday during a campaign parade in the city of Juiz de Fora. Though relatives were quick to say the candidate was in good health, it was reported by local outlets that it would take the 63-year-old Bolsonaro some two months to recover.

    While it's still too early to tell, August told Puryear that Bolsonaro could use the incident in order to sway voters his way.

    "Will it bring some support from a section of Brazilian society that will feed on the narrative that he's sort of… like [US President Donald] Trump, who likes to mix with the people even at the expense of his own life? This is hard to say, it might be too early, but that might be one effect of that recent incident of the stabbing against him," he suggested.

    Brazil's presidential elections, which use a two round system, will begin on October 7. Should the most-voted candidate fail to take more than 50 percent of the votes, a runoff election will be held on October 28 between the two most popular candidates from the first round.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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