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  • Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva

    Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva | Photo: AFP

Roughly 35 percent of voters will support the former president in the first round of the 2018 general election.

Despite being sentenced to nine years and six months over alleged corruption charges in Operation Car Wash investigations, former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva continues to broaden his lead in the upcoming 2018 presidential election, according to the latest Datafolha poll.

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Published in Folha de Sao Paulo on Saturday, the survey indicated that 35 percent of voters would support the former president in the first round of voting. That's a five percent increase from the last poll released in June.

The Datafolha poll also indicated that Lula would defeat all presidential candidates in a runoff vote.

While right-wing congressman and presidential hopeful Jair Bolsonaro trailed in polling by 17 percent of voting intentions, former environment minister Marina Silva was behind by 13 percent.

Meanwhile, Sao Paulo State Governor Geraldo Alckmin and Sao Paulo Mayor Joao Doria held only eight percent of voting intentions each, Reuters reported. Both are members of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, or PSDB, which is allied with right-wing President Michel Temer.

Lula's two-term presidency (2003-2010) was marked by a slew of social programs. He was credited with lifting millions of Brazilians out of poverty and tackling hunger.

One of his most ambitious and successful programs was the Family Allowance. Launched in 2003, the program provides stipends to families living below the poverty line. In turn, those families must prove that their children are attending school and have been vaccinated.

The program's objective is to empower Brazil's working class, ensuring that impoverished families are able to eat, purchase hygienic materials and have access to other basic necessities.

"The poor are not the problem, the poor are the solution, when we include the poor everything improves," Lula told teleSUR in an exclusive interview.

Nevertheless, the popular Brazilian leader may be prohibited from running for re-election if his conviction is upheld by judge Sergio Moro, another possible presidential hopeful. If so, Datafolha's poll also indicates that 26 percent of voters would back any candidate endorsed by Lula.

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