Brazil judge annuls Lula’s convictions, opens door to 2022 run

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BRASILIA, March 8 (Reuters) – A Brazilian Supreme Court judge on Monday annulled the criminal convictions against former leftist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a move that could allow the popular politician to run in next year’s presidential election.

In a surprise decision, Justice Edson Fachin said that a court in the southern city of Curitiba did not have the authority to try Lula on corruption charges and that he must be retried in federal courts in the capital Brasilia.

The ruling, which will be reviewed by the full Supreme Court, restored Lula’s political rights, potentially blowing open the 2022 presidential race, when right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro is expected to seek reelection.

Brazil’s real sank around 1.5% to a fresh four-month low through 5.78 per dollar after the news. The real traded as weak as 5.7851 per dollar, its weakest since Oct. 30.

EPA-EFE/FERNANDO BIZERRA

Lula governed Latin America’s most populous country and largest economy between 2003 and 2011. He was jailed and convicted of graft in 2018, which blocked him from running in the elections that year.

He was then released from prison in late 2019, but could not run for office due to his criminal record.

The charismatic former union leader is a polarizing figure but still popular with many of the country’s poor, who credit him for bringing millions out of poverty. (Reporting by Ricardo Brito Writing by Stephen Eisenhammer Editing by Brad Haynes)

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