A majority of justices on Brazil’s electoral court have voted to bar ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from running in October’s presidential election, virtually ending his candidacy.
After several hours of debate late Friday, four of the seven justices had voted against da Silva’s candidacy and just one in favor. Two other justices were still to vote, but only a majority is needed for a ruling.
Da Silva is serving a 12-year-sentence for corruption and money laundering, but he’s the front-runner despite being in jail. Under Brazilian law, da Silva is ineligible to run because his conviction was upheld on an initial appeal.
Da Silva and members of his Workers’ Party had hoped the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, which makes final decisions on candidacies, would allow him to run.
Da Silva has long argued that he should be allowed to run because his conviction was a sham. Judge Sergio Moro convicted da Silva of trading favors with construction company Grupo OAS in exchange for the promise of a beach house apartment.