Brazil's Lula aims to form coalition in October election

Brazil's Lula aims to form coalition in October election

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva poses for a meeting with members of the Rede Party in Brasilia on April 28, 2022 to discuss the party's support for his candidacy in the upcoming October elections. EVARISTO SA AFP BRASILIA - Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva told allies on Thursday he aims to represent a seven-party centre-left coalition in his fight against incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in this October's election.

Lula, a former union organizer who is running the presidential race, has stacked his agenda with party congresses to cement that coalition, including Thursday rallies with the Brazilian Socialist Party and Sustainability Network.

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To those who have not joined us yet, our arms are open to welcome everyone who wants to recover this country, he told reporters at a meeting with REDE.

Senator Randolfe Rodrigues pledged to support Lula's candidacy, but party founder Marina Silva, a former Lula environment minister, was absent. Silva left Lula's government and ran against his Workers Party in three bruising presidential elections.

Lula celebrated the findings of the UN rights committee earlier in the day that a graft case that jailed him and blocked his presidential candidacy in 2018 had violated due process. He called the ruling extraordinary soul-cleansing. ALSO READ: Brazil vote pits good against bad, Bolsonaro says.

Opinion surveys have shown Lula's advantage over Bolsonaro eroding in recent months as Bolsonaro has ramped up spending on social programs. The left-wing challenger maintains a double-digit advantage over his far-right opponent in simulations of a likely runoff.

Sources close to Lula told Reuters his strategy five months from the election is to focus on obtaining maximum support for an expected second round runoff against Bolsonaro.

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Some parties are attempting to field their own candidates but could still back Lula in the runoff, such as the Social Democratic Party and some factions of the Brazilian Democratic Movement.

Later on Thursday, Lula was welcomed by cheering supporters at a national Socialist Party meeting of his main ally, where he appeared with his pick for running mate, former Sao Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin.

The party members sang the socialist hymn L'Internationale when they shouted out with Bolsonaro.

In a speech by PSB president Carlos Siqueira, he said that we need to defeat Bolsonaro because he is a disgrace for Brazil. Party leaders said that Bolsonaro had undermined labor rights and environmental protections.