A Brazilian Supreme Court justice annulled all sentences against former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Monday, paving the way for him to run in the country’s 2022 presidential election.
Da Silva was convicted twice for corruption and money laundering. In 2017, the left-wing former president was sentenced to nine years and six months in relation to a triplex in the beach town of Guarujá. Two years later, he was sentenced to 12 years in a similar case.
Supreme Court Justice Edson Fachin found the federal court in the southern city of Curitiba that issued both sentences did not have the jurisdiction to try the former president. The justice determined that both cases must be relaunched at a federal court in the capital, Brasilia.
Da Silva governed the largest country in Latin America between 2003 and 2011, a period in which Brazil became one of the largest developing economies in the world. His hand-picked successor, former President Dilma Rousseff, was impeached in 2016 after Brazil experienced an economic downturn.
The leftist firebrand and former union leader hoped to run against far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro in the 2018 presidential election, but due to the Clean Record law that prohibits those sentenced from running for office, the former president was forced to step down from the ticket. His substitute and former education minister, Fernando Haddad, lost in the runoff to Bolsonaro.
With the annulment of the sentences, da Silva’s political rights are restored, and he is now eligible to run for office in 2022.
“Today’s decision reaffirms the incompetence of the Curitiba Federal Court (and) the recognition that we have always been right in this long juridical battle,” the former president’s defense team said in a statement.