|[Published: Wednesday September 12 2018]
Jailed ex-leader Lula pulls out of Brazil election
BRASILIA 12 Sep (ANA) - Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has pulled out of next month's presidential election to allow his running mate to stand in his place.
Lula had been the frontrunner despite being in jail for a corruption conviction and despite the top electoral court barring his candidacy.
He has now thrown his weight behind his Workers' Party colleague Fernando Haddad.
The move comes days after a far-right candidate was stabbed at a rally.
The 63-year-old Jair Bolsonaro must now undergo major surgery after being attacked by a lone assailant, doctors said.
A Workers' Party leader announced the decision outside the detention centre where the 72-year-old is serving a 12-year sentence.
He read out a letter - written by Lula in his cell - to supporters who have been camping outside the jail for five months demanding he be freed.
In it, the former president, who governed from January 2003 until December 2010, said he would not run in the election scheduled for 7 October.
Fernando Haddad "will be my representative in this battle", he said. "Our name is now Haddad!"
The decision comes after a lengthy legal battle which culminated on 1 September when the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) ruled that he was "ineligible" to run for the presidency.
Lula's legal team and the Workers' Party have appealed against the decision and the Supreme Court is still due to rule on it.
Up until Monday night, the Workers' Party strategy had been to keep Lula's name on the ticket for as long as possible.
Lula left office with record approval ratings and despite his imprisonment, almost 40% of people asked by polling firm Datafolha said they would vote for him.
Mr Haddad, on the other hand, is a former education minister who has little name recognition outside of São Paulo, where he served as mayor.
Lula's legal team asked the Supreme Court to extend the deadline for registering candidates for the presidency from end of business Tuesday to Monday 17 September to buy itself more time.
Typical of the high drama which has characterised the election campaign, Lula and his party decided to change tack after the Supreme Court rejected their request to extend the deadline.(ANA)
FA/ANA/12 September 2018--------