Brazil’s former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said he would be willing to seek another term in 2018 and would put himself forward as a candidate “if necessary,” the Associated Press reported Monday. While Lula will be 72 by the time of the next election, during his speech Saturday in Rio de Janeiro commemorating 36 years of the governing Workers’ Party, he said he still has the “desire of a 32-year-old to be president of the republic.”
While Lula had high approval ratings in 2010, the end of his two-term limit, the former president has since been plagued by scandal, resulting in a sharp drop in his poll ratings. Lula is being investigated on the heels of a corruption scandal at state-led oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA and has been notified that Brazilian courts plan to subpoena his bank, telephone and financial records.
"If this is the price people must pay to prove their innocence, I'll do it," Lula said Saturday, referring to the subpoenas, Reuters reported. "The only thing I want is that afterward they give me a good conduct certificate, because I doubt there is anyone more honest than I am in the country."
An opinion poll published last week revealed that only 11 percent of Brazilians approve of the government of Lula’s hand-picked successor, president Dilma Rousseff, who is serving her second term and who Lula reiterated his support for Saturday. Rousseff has also been embroiled in the recent Petrobras scandal, and opposition leaders have called for her dismissal.
The survey also found that that 70 percent consider Lula guilty of corruption, the AP reported. During his speech, Lula slammed the opposition and the media, accusing them of attacking him “with lies, leaks and accusations of criminality.”
Brazil’s next presidential election is expected to occur in October 2018.