SAO PAULO – The Labor Party in Brazil has jailed former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Saturday as a candidate for the country's top position.
Left Party delegates strongly confirmed da Silva, who held two terms as Brazilian President from 2003 to 2010, at a meeting in Sao Paulo.
Since March, the former president has been arrested for corruption, but he denies any wrongdoing and claims to be politically persecuted.
Members of the highest Brazilian electoral court have indicated that he will be excluded from voting in the October elections. But Da Silva conducts polls for the office by a wide margin, and polls show that voters would back another candidate of the Labor Party if he can not attend.
The party is not expected to call his running mate until Monday.
In a recorded message to the congregation, Da Silva said that "those who condemned me are trapped in a lie."
"Brazil needs to restore its democracy, find itself and be happy again," he said. "They could lock me up, hold me, but I'll keep my faith in the Brazilian people."
After his nomination was approved, another message was read by Da Silva.
"They have already deposed a president who has been elected, and now they want to reject the people's right to elect their next president, they want to invent a democracy without people," he said.
Meanwhile, other candidates criticized Da Silva and his party.
"It hurts my heart, but I do not expect anything from them now," said left-wing presidential candidate Ciro Gomes of the Democratic Labor Party.
Conservative Geraldo Alckmin, who was nominated as a presidential candidate by the Social Democratic Party on Saturday, blamed the country's 13 million unemployed.
"It was the lies and the radicalism that formed the chain of events that is the tragic legacy of the Workers' Party," he said.
Workers' Party leader Gleisi Hoffmann, who is trying to attract other left-wing parties, turned to the supporters of the congress after two marginalized parties supported Da Silva's run.
"They tried to exclude Lula from the political debate," she said. "In Brazil, there is no political discussion without Lula and the Labor Party."
Centrist Marina Silva was also nominated by the speech party on Saturday.