Brazil's Lula to Launch Presidential Bid as an `Act of Defiance'

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will launch his bid for the presidency on Jan. 25, regardless of the outcome of an appellate court hearing on his corruption conviction scheduled for the day before.

Lula’s bid is "an act of defiance" in response to political persecution, Alexandre Padilha, the vice-president of the Workers’ Party, or PT, told Bloomberg in an interview. Officially, political parties will not formalize their candidates for October’s elections until August.

Lula was sentenced to nine and half years for graft and money laundering in July last year and faces a handful of other criminal charges. The former president and his supporters say the charges against him are politically motivated and an attempt to stop him from returning to power. Lula currently leads the opinion polls for this year’s presidential elections. If the appeals court upholds his conviction on Jan. 24 he may be barred from running.

The PT is organizing major protests in both Porto Alegre, the city where the appeals court will convene, and in Sao Paulo on the day of the verdict.

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