Lula Presidential Bid Less Likely After Brazil Court Ruling

(Bloomberg) -- A Brazilian appeals court rejected unanimously a plea by former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, upholding a corruption conviction that will likely make him ineligible to run in this year’s presidential elections.

In theory, Lula could now be jailed, but his lawyers secured an injunction at the Supreme Court last week, meaning that he will remain at liberty for the time being. The court is due to reconvene on April 4 to discuss the principle of habeas corpus and whether convicted felons can remain free during the appeals process.

Monday’s court ruling means that Lula would fall foul of Brazil’s so-called "clean slate" electoral law were he to register as a candidate for October’s elections. According to this rule, no one convicted of a criminal offense upheld on appeal can run for elected office for at least eight years. However, the final decision on Lula’s eligibility rests with the country’s top electoral court, which can only rule on the matter once candidates are registered in August. There have also been numerous exceptions to the "clean slate" law since its introduction in 2010.

Lula is currently the front-runner in opinion polls for the presidential election.

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