Brazil’s Prosecutor-General Raquel Dodge on Wednesday evening (Aug. 15) filed a motion to bar the presidential candidacy of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, registered by his Workers’ Party (PT) earlier on the same day at the Superior Electoral Court (TSE).
In the motion submitted to Justice Luís Roberto Barroso, in charge of the case, Dodge, who also serves as prosecutor-general for electoral affairs, argued that the applicant is not eligible, and produced the certificate issued by the Federal Regional Court of the 4th Jurisdiction confirming Lula’s conviction, ruled by a trial court.
In January this year, the former leader was criminally convicted by an appellate court, as part of Operation Car Wash, to 12 years and one month in prison for money laundering and corruption in the case involving a triplex apartment in coastal Guarujá, São Paulo state.
The decision brings the onetime president under the conditions barring a candidate from running for office under the Clean Record Law.
On Thursday (16), Raquel Dodge filed a new motion on the topic. She requests that the seven-day deadline for Lula’s defense against the invalidation of his candidacy to be counted as of Thursday, in an attempt to have the matter settled earlier.
Theoretically, motions filed in a bid to prevent candidates from running for office should be brought under scrutiny only after the electoral court authorities released the official list with all candidacies granted. The court has five days to make this list public.
Dodge, however, went ahead of the process. The electoral court has up to September 17 to grant or reject all candidacy requests, which is also the deadline for parties to replace their candidates.
Lula’s lawyer at the Superior Electoral Court, Luiz Fernando Casagrande Pereira, said, “We had never seen the prosecutor’s office work so swiftly. But a lawyer’s not supposed to complain about the swiftness of the judiciary; we can only think that, if all trials advanced this swiftly, the whole pile of cases in Brazil would be brought to zero,” he said.
Two other motions against Lula’s drive to run for president were lodged by right-wing candidates for federal deputy. The requests were filed Wednesday, but before Lula’s candidacy was officially registered at the court.
Even though Dodge’s motion is to be brought to the hands of Justice Luís Roberto Barroso, the other requests were submitted to other rapporteur, Justice Admar Gonzaga.
Taking this into account, the PT filed a petition at the Superior Electoral Court questioning the reasons why the motions had been sent to Gonzaga rather than Barroso.
A note released by PT lawyers, argues this was done “with the sole intent of preventing a possible ruling from being nullified,” as Gonzaga is not the justice in charge of Lula’s registration as candidate.
When questioned about the motions being assigned to two different rapporteurs, Barroso merely pledged to do “the right thing.” The justice may make his own, individual decision on Lula’s candidacy; however, due to the importance of the matter, the issue is likely to be submitted to vote in a plenary session.
*With information from Felipe Pontes