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Fernando Haddad confirmed as Brazil's Workers Party presidential candidate

BRAZIL’S Workers Party (PT) confirmed yesterday that its presidential candidacy for next month’s election will be Fernando Haddad, jailed former president Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva’s running mate.

Mr Haddad, who will run with vice-presidential hopeful Manuela D’Avila of the Communist Party of Brazil, read a letter to PT supporters outside the Curitiba jail where Lula, barred from the contest, is being held.

“I want everyone who would vote for me to vote for Fernando Haddad for president of Brazil,” said Lula.

“From now on he will be Lula for millions of Brazilians.”

Mr Haddad stood alongside Ms D’Avila as he told his audience: “I feel the pain of many Brazilians who won’t be able to vote for who they want, but now is not the time to have your head down.”

While Lula has been the front-runner in all opinion polls, his exclusion by the courts has allowed far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro to assume the lead with 24 per cent, ahead of left maverick Ciro Gomes with 13 per cent, centrist Marina Silva with 11 per cent, conservative Geraldo Alckmin with 10 per cent and Mr Haddad with 9 per cent.

PT supporters expect the latter’s ratings to climb now that Lula has accepted he cannot contest the election and thrown his considerable weight behind his PT comrade.

The former president once commented memorably that he and Mr Haddad are like Barcelona FC superstars Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, saying: “We play together and we don’t even need to look at each other to know what the other is doing.”

Far-right candidate Mr Bolsonaro was boosted by a 3-2 majority decision in the Supreme Court yesterday, following his superficial stabbing last week, that he need not stand trial for racism. Justice Alexandre de Moraes ruled that he had the right to insult black people in a 2017 speech in a Rio de Janeiro club, pointing out that he has immunity as a sitting MP.

If no candidate gets more than 50 per cent of the votes on October 7, a run-off will be held on October 28.

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