(dpa) – Brazil’s Supreme Court has confirmed the decision to annul the convictions of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Eight judges voted in favour of upholding last month’s decision and three voted against, according to a report from broadcaster TV Justica on Thursday evening.
Lula’s lawyers said the decision “restores legal certainty and credibility to our country’s justice system.”
Having his convictions annulled means Lula has regained the right to run in elections, and the confirmation brings the 75-year-old one step closer to challenging incumbent Jair Bolsonaro with a presidential bid in 2022.
The convictions were annulled on procedural grounds, but it isn’t an acquittal.
It is possible that a new decision will be made on whether Lula should be convicted elsewhere. The judges must still decide whether the cases should go to the judiciary in Brasilia or Sao Paulo.
The popular left-wing politician who was the country’s leader from 2003 to 2011, recently floated the possibility of a new candidacy.
His core message is that Bolsonaro, who is blamed by many for the coronavirus pandemic spiralling out of control in Brazil, should not remain president.
In 2018, Lula was sentenced to 12 years and one month in prison for corruption and money laundering.
As a result, he could not take part in presidential elections despite having a lead in the polls. That paved the way for right-wing populist Jair Bolsonaro to enter the presidential palace.
Lula was released from prison in 2019 after 580 days. A judge decided in March that the court in the city of Curitiba did not have jurisdiction and referred the case to Brasilia.