"Election without Lula is fraud" is the manifesto being promoted by intellectuals and artists like Noam Chomsky and Chico Buarque in support of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva's participation in the 2018 presidential elections.
So far, the petition in Change.org has reached over 92,000 signatures.
"The attempt to schedule the date of the trial of Lula's appeal for the 24th of January is empty of legality. It is purely an act of persecution of the most popular Brazilian leader," the manifesto says in its opening paragraph. Jan. 24 marks one year since Lula's deceased wife, Marisa Leticia, suffered a stroke that would eventually lead to her death days later.
In July 2017, Judge Sergio Moro convicted the former president to nine and a half years in prison for the alleged crime of passive corruption on bribes paid by the OAS construction company.
If the conviction is upheld on Jan. 24, Lula will not be able to run in the 2018 presidential elections.
Lula's popularity has increased by 16 percentage points throughout the year. As of Dec. 20, the former president's approval rating is at 45 percent, more than double of his two closest political rivals. According to the latest IPSOS poll, Geraldo Alckmin has an approval rating of 13 percent while Jair Bolsonaro, who trails behind Lula, is at 15 percent.
Poll numbers indicate that if Lula runs, he is most likely to win the 2018 elections.