Arrest warrant issued for former president '# 039 & Lula

An appeals court on Thursday authorized Brazil's judiciary to issue an arrest warrant against ex-president and presidential hopeful Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The magistrate had granted Lula, "for dignity of position he held", opportunity to surrender himself to justice.

"The Brazilian people have the right to vote for Lula, the candidate of hope", a Workers' Party tweet said earlier. A lower court appeal against the conviction was rejected this January.

Mariana Setra, a da Silva supporter in Sao Paulo, called the top court's decision "ridiculous".

"When the present becomes history, it will be clear how much persecution the president face [d]", said Daniel Libanori, a computer programmer and Da Silva supporter.

Ciro Gomes, another left-wing politician from the Democratic Labor Party, who served as the minister for national integration under Lula's administration, could also seek PT support, with his campaign issues focusing on defending national sovereignty and Brazil's independence on the world stage.

Lula was convicted a year ago for taking bribes from an engineering firm in return for help landing contracts with state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court bench decided by six judges to five that Lula must now begin his sentence, having lost an initial appeal in January.

The drama is of huge outcome to Brazil's presidential race, in which 72-year-old Lula, despite his legal problems, is the easy leader in polls.

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Da Silva's upcoming arrest will mark a colossal fall from grace for the man who led Latin America's most populous nation between 2003 and 2010, and left office with approval ratings over 80 percent.

The head of the Workers' Party warned that jailing Lula will turn the nation into a "banana republic".

"Brazil scored a goal against impunity and corruption", said Congressman Jair Bolsonaro, a right-leaning former army captain who is second in the polls after da Silva.

The case against Lula is part of the "Car Wash" corruption investigation, which has led to the jailing of dozens of top executives and politicians and exposed bitter divisions in the country. Under Brazilian electoral law, a candidate is forbidden from running for office for eight years after being found guilty of a crime.

Da Silva was convicted in July of helping a construction company get sweetheart contracts in exchange for the promise of the apartment.

Workers' Party leaders promised demonstrations, including vigils that would be organised nationwide beginning on Friday. She was impeached and removed from office amid corruption scandals and economic crisis in mid-2016.

Couto can not see the once-powerful Workers Party having a competitive candidate until it makes a public apology for getting caught up in the systemic corruption among Brazil's traditional political class.

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