SAO PAULO – Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Tuesday that he is “prepared” and “ready” to run for re-election in the 2018 election, adding that his “adversaries are very nervous.”
“I want to say that if it were necessary, if the (Workers Party) needs it, I’m ready to once again be a candidate for president,” Lula said in an interview with Meio Norte radio, in northeastern Piaui state, one day after new corruption charges were filed against him.
On Monday, according to information obtained by local media, the former head of the Odebrecht construction group, Marcelo Odebrecht, testified in court that he paid 13 million reais (some $4.15 million) stemming from assorted corrupt activities to Lula.
On that score, the former Brazilian leader once again defended his innocence, criticized the leaking of “lies” to the press and said that going to prison hasn’t crossed his mind.
“For someone to become a prisoner he must have committed a crime and the police and the judiciary need to have proof to convict someone. For the past three years, I’ve been hearing my name (linked to corruption) and for three years I’ve been waiting,” said Lula, who has five court cases pending against him, the majority of them for corruption.
Lula said that the Brazilian people feel “nostalgia” for the time during which he was president (2003-2010) and he noted that he is ahead in the voter intention polls for the 2018 election, despite the fact that he has not officially declared his candidacy.
“My adversaries are very nervous because they’ve been beating up on me for three years and in every survey that comes out I’m farther out in front,” he said.
The ex-president, one of the country’s most charismatic politicians, insisted that he is “prepared” to run in next year’s election and to once again serve as president.
“When I think about not running, they urge me to do so and then I feel more like it,” added Lula.
However, if he were to be convicted in any of the five cases pending against him he would become ineligible to run for any public office.