Tough challenges for Lula's wannabe successor - Daily Nation

Tough challenges for presidential wannabe stepping into Lula's shoes

Wednesday September 12 2018

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva delivers a speech for folloers in Curitiba, Brazil, on May 10, 2017. | PHOTO | INSTITUTO LULA | HEULER ANDREY | AFP | 

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Fernando Haddad, the man stepping into former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's shoes at the last minute after the jailed ex-leader finally dropped his bid for re-election, has a good chance of making the run-off in next month's polls.

But to win the presidency, Haddad will have to distance himself from the iconic Lula, a towering figure of Brazilian politics.


Lula, who held office from 2003 to 2010, gave his blessing Tuesday for Haddad to replace him, two weeks after the Supreme Court upheld a ban on his own candidacy issued by the country's electoral commission.

Lula waited until the last minute of a court-imposed deadline to pass the baton to Haddad, after having exhausted all his legal options to allow him to run for a third term despite being jailed for 12 years on corruption charges.

But he gave his former education minister, seen as a less fiery but more also more conciliatory figure, his full blessing for the election, due to take place on October 7.

Haddad, who has also served as mayor of Sao Paulo, the country's business hub, faces an uphill battle, with very little time left to launch a campaign and with his rivals already well ahead of him on the trail.

The 55-year-old lawyer and former university professor was not widely known across the huge country, and latest polls showed just eight or nine percent of the population planning to vote for him. That is well behind the 40 percent backing that had made Lula a front-runner, even after being jailed.


But Haddad will be able not just to count on Lula's support but also on the powerful electoral machinery of his Worker's Party, which Lula, a former trade union leader, fo