Supporters wears masks depicting Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva during the Workers Party national convention in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018. The convention confirmed the jailed Lula da Silva as their candidate for the country's presidency in October's election. Da Silva leads the polls by a large margins, but is likely to be barred by Brazil's electoral justice. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)

Brazil party names jailed leader as presidential nominee

August 04, 2018 - 1:21 pm

SAO PAULO (AP) — The Workers' Party in Brazil named jailed former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Saturday 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.

Although his popularity has dropped slightly, da Silva leads polls for the office by a large margin. Surveys also suggest voters would lend their support to another Workers' Party candidate if da Silva is barred from running.

It is unclear who would replace him if that's the case, and the party is not expected to name da Silva's running mate until Monday.

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."

Workers' Party chairwoman Gleisi Hoffmann, who is trying to lure other left-leaning parties to the ticket, addressed supporters at the convention.

"They tried to exclude Lula from the political discussion," she said. "There is no political discussion in Brazil without Lula and the Workers' Party."

Right-leaning candidate Geraldo Alckmin of Brazilian Social Democracy and centrist Marina Silva of Rede were also nominated by their parties on Saturday.

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