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In Unprecedented Move, Former Mayor and Ex-legislator will be Running Mates with Lula

The Workers’ Party and the Communist Party of Brazil develop a joint strategy to make sure that the imprisoned Lula is part of the upcoming presidential elections.

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Manuela D'Ávila and Fernando Haddad during Aug. 7 press conference., Ricardo Stuckert

It’s an unheard-of situation: three candidates running together for Brazil’s presidential elections. The unusual case is actually due to the peculiar scenario ahead of the elections, as the name at the top of voting intention polls – former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, from the Workers’ Party (PT) – has been in prison for the past four months and is unable to exercise his political rights at the moment.

The plan involves nominating, at first, Workers’ Party member and former São Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad as Lula’s running mate. Once their registration with the electoral court is reviewed and ratified, which should happen by September 17th, Manuela D’Ávila, from the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB), takes on the running-mate slot next to whoever the PT candidate may be, Lula or Haddad.

During a press conference on Tuesday at the PCdoB headquarters in São Paulo, D’Ávila, who was up until that point expected to run for president for her own party, explained that the deal led to a coalition between her and her running mates’ party. “The decision by the PCdoB is the decision of those who believe we will win the elections and we will, together, take Brazil out of this crisis that is dramatically impacting the Brazilian people.”

Haddad, now officially a vice-presidential candidate, pointed out that the goal with their candidacy is to conceive a project for the country that can turn the situation around and recover from the effects of the 2016 coup d’état.

“I am representing [ex-]president Lula as a vice-presidential candidate. I have the honor of representing him in these circumstances, and as soon as he is approved to run, we will roll out the red carpet so that Manuela can take over my slot. And it will be a glorious day to see her next to the president, walking up the ramp into the presidential office building to rule Brazil.”

About ex-president Lula’s participation in debates and other campaign activities, Haddad said that, while he is prepared to take on these tasks, the Workers’ Party will keep pushing to make sure the former president can exercise his legitimate right to campaign, as established by law.

The Workers’ Party will register ex-president Lula with the country’s electoral court on the deadline, August 15th.

A huge demonstration is scheduled for the same day in Brasília, Brazil’s capital city, as the culmination of the Free Lula March. The 5-day march to support the ex-president is being organized by the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) and other movements and will set off on August 10th, when thousands of people will walk through neighboring cities up to Brasília on the 15th.