Oct 27, 1945 to Present
BrazilLuiz Inácio Lula da Silva (born 27 October 1945), popularly known simply as Lula, is a Brazilian politician and former union leader who served as the 35th President of Brazil from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2010. A popular and ambitious politician, he is currently serving a 12 year prison sentence for numerous corruption charges. Lula was a founding member of the Workers' Party (PT) and ran unsuccessfully for President three times before achieving victory in the 2002 election, being re-elected in the 2006 election.
General elections were held in Brazil on 6 October 2002, with a second round on 27 October. After three failed attempts, Workers' Party leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva succeeded in a presidential election. Nevertheless, he did not manage to obtain the majority of valid votes in the first round; this led the presidential election to a second round, which Lula won with 52.7 million votes (61.3% of the total), becoming at the time the second most voted-for president in the world after Ronald Reagan in the 1984 United States presidential election.
General elections were held in Brazil on 1 October 2006 to elect all seats in the Chamber of Deputies, one-third of the Federal Senate, and members of the Legislative Assemblies of the 26 states and the Federal District. As no candidate for president received over 50% of the vote, a second round run-off was held on 29 October between incumbent Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his challenger, Geraldo Alckmin. A second round was also required in 10 states where no candidate for governor received a majority. Lula won the second round with over 60% of the valid votes and secured a new four-year term.
When wanted Italian terrorist Cesare Battisti was arrested in Rio de Janeiro on 18 March 2007 by Brazilian and French police officers, Brazilian Minister of Justice Tarso Genro granted him status as a political refugee, a controversial decision which divided Italy and the Brazilian and international press.
On 18 November 2009, the Brazilian Supreme Court declared the refugee status illegal and allowed Battisi's extradition, but also stated that the Brazilian constitution gave the president personal powers to deny the extradition if he chose to, effectively putting the final decision in the hands of Lula. Lula decided to bar extradition of Battisti.
In April 2015, the Public Ministry of Brazil opened an investigation into allegations of influence peddling by Lula, which claimed that between 2011 and 2014 he had lobbied for government contracts in foreign countries for the Odebrecht company and had also persuaded the Brazilian Development Bank to finance the projects in Ghana, Angola, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic.
On 28 July 2016, Lula filed a 39-page petition with the UN's Human Rights Committee outlining alleged abuses of power. The petition claims that "Lula is a victim of abuse of power by a judge, with the complicity of prosecutors and the media". The petition was the first ever taken against Brazil which ratified the Committee’s protocol in 2009.
The UN accepted the case and Brazil had six months to respond to the petition with the committee made of 18 international jurists. In November 2016, Lula's legal team filed additional evidence of abuses by the Brazilian justice system.
On 17 April 2018, Brazilian senators who were members of the legislature's Human Rights Commission, the Argentinian Nobel Prize laureate, Adolfo Perez Esquivel and the former president of Uruguay, José Pepe Mujica were not allowed to visit Lula in prison to acquire information of violation of Lula’s human rights.
On 2 August 2018, Pope Francis received in Rome Celso Amorim, Alberto Fernández and Carlos Ominami, three former allies of Lula da Silva. At the conclusion of a one-hour meeting, Pope Francis received by Mr Amorim the Lula's biography The Truth Will Win and addressed to Lula a handwritten note that he posted in his Twitter account, with the following text: "To Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva with my blessing, asking him to pray for me, Francisco”.