By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Over the weekend presidential candidates in Brazil criticized the PT (Workers’ Party) propaganda campaign featuring former leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, when the country’s Superior Electoral Court (TSE) banned on Friday his candidacy with the justification that he is in jail, convicted of passive corruption.
According to opponents, the PT is deceiving voters into thinking that Lula is still running for President.
“The fraud is so evident that (VP Fernando) Haddad is presented as ‘Lula’s representative’ in all of the campaigns,” explained Partido Novo’s (New Party) presidential candidate, João Amoedo, over the weekend in interviews
Amoedo’s party filed on Sunday (Sept. 2nd) three separate actions in the TSE questioning the PT’s electoral propaganda. According to Novo, the PT is conducting illicit electoral propaganda by continuing to link Fernando Haddad as ‘Lula’s representative’ when in fact the former leader cannot be ‘named’ as the main candidate with Haddad being simply his ‘substitute’.
Last Friday (August 31st), the TSE rejected Lula’s candidacy but allowed the PT to conduct electoral propaganda without showing him as a candidate.
In the radio campaigns broadcast on Saturday (August 1st) the PT party presented Lula as the party candidate, justifying that the Court’s decision came too late for changes in the taped propaganda. In the TV advertisement, which went on the air on Saturday at 1 pm, the PT did not present Lula as a candidate, but exhibited images of him with vice candidate Fernando Haddad and with supporters.
“What we’re seeing on TV here by PT is deceit. Shameful deceit. They’re hiding the candidate who’s actually going to be a candidate,” said PSDB candidate, Geraldo Alckmin while on campaing in the Metropolitan São Paulo region on Saturday.
“The first condition of public life is the truth,” he stated. “They know that Lula will not be a candidate. What the PT is doing is trying to artificially victimize someone who was a candidate, and on the other hand, to hide the (real) candidate. This is deception,” said Alckmin to an audience of nearly 5,000.
According to lawyers from right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro, leading the presidential race, the TV ads presented on Saturday conveyed to voters the idea that the ‘candidate is free’, using more than 70 percent of its propaganda time with external scenes, including many in which the former President is featured.
Brazil’s electoral law states that media campaigns must feature at least 75 percent of its time to the ‘candidates’ and not more to ‘supporters’, like Lula.
According to the TSE the PT party will have ten days to name a substitute for former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The likely candidate is former São Paulo City mayor, Fernando Haddad, currently listed on the PT ticket as Lula’s vice-president.