Brazilian court bars Lula da Silva from running in presidential election

'Most popular politician on earth' barred from running for president

In an extraordinary session the Superior Electoral Court dashed Mr da Silva's hopes after six hours of debate, with the result coming in at 4-1 before the last two judges cast their votes - enough to seal his fate.

Da Silva, serving a 12-year-sentence for corruption and money laundering, is the front-runner despite being in jail. His Workers Party registered him as its presidential candidate for the October vote anyway, saying he is innocent. His Workers Party registered him as its presidential candidate for the October 7 vote anyway, saying he is innocent.Lula is likely ineligible for office under Brazil's "Clean Slate" law, which prohibits candidates from running if they have convictions that have been upheld on appeal.

The former trade union leader vehemently denies the accusations and has dismissed the charges as a political plot aimed at preventing him from standing in the elections.

Whatever the court's decision, it will be open to appeal, magistrate Henrique Neves, a former electoral court member, told AFP.

Lula has also received backing from the UN Human Rights Committee, which ruled that he can not be disqualified from the elections as his legal appeals are ongoing. The PT manifesto recalled that the UN Human Rights Committee has instructed the Brazilian State to guarantee Lula's political rights, including being a presidential candidate, and Brazil has an obligation to comply, because it signed the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Da Silva's left-leaning Workers' Party issued a statement vowing to appeal, but there appeared to be scant chance it would succeed.

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The former leader's attorneys still hope to get the ban overturned by appealing the decision before Brazil's supreme court.

Supporters of the former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva attend a rally in Curitiba, Brazil, on August 30.

The decision could work to the advantage of extreme right-wing candidate Jair Bolsanaro, who is running second in the polls to Lula.

But the PT's second choice looks hopeless.

With da Silva barred, former Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad is seen as his party's likely candidate for the presidency.

However, the political chaos has had wider repercussions in the country with the currency losing 20 percent of its value against the dollar since January. The PT launched an appeal for support on Twitter, after which a hashtag translating to "Lula on the ballot box" quickly began trending.

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