Brazil authorities prevent former leader Lula from leaving country

The ratification and increase of condemnation to Brazilian former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for corruption furr complicates political panorama of South American country, plunged into a deep institutional crisis for three years and that this autumn will celebrate Presidential elections. Lula can still appeal to higher courts to delay a final decision, avoiding jail and stringing the process out long enough to register his candidacy by the August 15 deadline, though an electoral court could eventually revoke his candidacy. That is double the percentage of his nearest rival, the far-right congressman and former army captain Jair Bolsonaro, who has been energised by anti-Lula sentiment.

Still, Brazil's Workers' Party, the ex-president's party, released a statement saying that regardless of his lost appeal, the former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva will continue to be their presidential candidate.

Lula said that if the three judges could "show me the crime I committed, I would give up trying to be a candidate". "It ends it", said Sergio Praça, a political scientist at FGV think tank in Sao Paulo.

His exclusion raises the prospect of a right-leaning reformer winning the election and sticking to Brazil's austerity programme. Sao Paulo's stock market hit a new high after the decision and the currency strengthened from 3.20 to 3.14 reais to the dollar.

Brazil's currency, the real, firmed 3 percent against the US dollar, leading gains in Latin America. "This is a political fight and we will make a political decision", he said at a party event in Sao Paulo.

Lula also faces six other indictments, a lot of them for alleged corruption. It focuses on graft involving oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro, known as Petrobras, and other state-run companies.

In July, Judge Sergio Moro convicted da Silva of corruption for being slated to receive a beachfront apartment from construction company OAS in exchange for contracts. Lula maintains he never owned the penthouse apartment, criticising prosecutors for relying on the plea bargain testimony of one witness, businessman Leo Pinheiro.

Despite myriad legal troubles the 72-year-old leads polls for October's race.

Lula's supporters call the ruling a "farce" orchestrated by his enemies to stop him returning to power. Rousseff said in an interview with the AP on Monday that the decision to buy Saab fighter jets in 2014 was made only by herself and Brazil's military, under no influence from da Silva.

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