Ex-Sao Paulo mayor named as Lula's running mate

Sao Paulo (AFP) –


Brazil's leftist Workers' Party on Sunday named former Sao Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad as the running mate of its charismatic founder Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for the October presidential election.

"We are going with Lula and Fernando Haddad," a tweet posted from Lula's official Twitter account read Sunday.

Even though he is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence for corruption, the Workers' Party nominated former president Lula, 72, as its candidate on Saturday.

He is awaiting a final court judgement on whether he can run. Under current law anyone losing an appeal against a criminal conviction is barred from the ballot.

As a result, despite the leftist leader's almost cult-like backing, all eyes were on the Workers' Party's vice-presidential choice.

That person could end up standing in for Lula, who first governed from 2003 to 2011.

A powerful politician, Haddad has signed on to Lula's legal team, giving him easy access to the prison, and he would be well placed to inherit Lula's electorate.

Despite being behind bars, Lula leads the voting intentions of a third of the electorate, according to polls. However, Haddad draws just one percent support in a scenario without Lula.

Haddad was mayor of Sao Paulo from 2013 to 2017 but failed to win re-election. Before that he was education minister in the governments of Lula and Lula's successor Dilma Rousseff.