Brazil party names jailed leader as presidential nominee
SAO PAULO (AP) -- The Workers' Party in Brazil yesterday named jailed former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as its nominee for the country's top job.
Delegates of the left-leaning party confirmed da Silva, who served two terms as Brazil's president between 2003 and 2010, with enthusiastic approval at a convention in Sao Paulo.
Since March, the former president has been jailed on a corruption conviction, but he denies any wrongdoing and claims he is being politically persecuted.
Members of Brazil's top electoral court have suggested he will be barred from running in October's elections. But da Silva leads polls for the office by a large margin, and surveys show voters would lend their support to another Workers' Party candidate if he cannot participate.
The party is not expected to name his running mate until tomorrow.
In a recorded message to the convention, da Silva said that "it is those that sentenced me that are jailed in a lie."
"Brazil needs to restore its democracy, find itself and be happy again," he said. "They might lock me up, shut me up, but I will keep my faith in the Brazilian people."
After his nomination was approved, another message written by da Silva was read aloud.
"They already brought down a president that was elected and now they want to veto the right of the people to elect their next president. They want to invent a democracy without people," he said.
Meanwhile, other candidates criticised da Silva and his party.
"It pains my heart, but I don't expect anything from them now," said left-leaning presidential hopeful Ciro Gomes, of the Democratic Labour party.