It’s official now: Lula will be able to run for the presidential elections of 2022. The country is already eager for the date to get rid of the nightmare named Bolsonaro.
The decision came on Thursday evening from the Supreme Federal Court, which, in plenary session, confirmed the ruling by Judge Edson Fachin by 8 votes to 3, which had annulled all the convictions for corruption against the former president issued by Sérgio Moro and his deputy Gabriela Hardt as part of the Lava Jato operation, ruling that they had no jurisdiction to judge the cases in which Lula was involved.
There were many fears before the decision came. Because it is one thing to launch an offensive against a president who has been abandoned by almost everyone, isolated internationally and even accused of genocide; it is quite another to allow Lula to try to regain the presidency, with the very real risk that he might defeat other possible candidates with true neoliberal credentials and “acceptable” in the eyes of the world.
The polls are clear: according to the latest survey by PoderData, in a possible runoff between Lula and Bolsonaro, the leader of the Workers’ Party would win by 18 points, 52% against 34%.
Nor are there any doubts about the former president’s willingness to run: “If this is necessary,” Lula said—and very few on the Brazilian left think it’s not—“I will run to win the elections against that fascist called Jair Bolsonaro, that genocide, the one most responsible for the chaos of the pandemic.”
And although he also stressed the possibility of “choosing someone else who can represent the progressive sectors of Brazil,” one can bet that he already feels ready for the task, starting with the project of joining forces with the other parties, left, center and moderate right—practically the same coalition that supported his governments before—who share an interest in getting rid of the current president.
But as unlikely as it is that the right-wingers would be willing to lay down their arms against Lula—their search for a candidate to run against both him and Bolsonaro will continue unabated—it is clear that getting rid of Lula is not currently considered a priority, as the Supreme Court’s vote indicates quite clearly. So much so that even the anti-PT magazine par excellence, Veja, has put him on its cover without a shred of irony, for the first time in who knows how many years.
In any case, the decision of the Court is bound to alarm Bolsonaro even more. He is grappling with the worst moment of his presidency, already on the ropes after the establishment of a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into the conduct of his government in the management of the pandemic.
The so-called “Genocide Commission” has already been appointed: Its president is Omar Aziz from Centrão, Randolfe Rodrigues, a sworn enemy of Bolsonaro, serves as vice-president, and Renan Calheiros, another Centrão senator but highly critical of the president, serves as rapporteur.