Agence France-Presse

Brazil’s former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva says he is “very much a candidate” in the elections coming up in October, despite having been in jail for a month, the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo reported Monday.

The message was given by theologian Leonardo Boff, who visited Lula in prison in the southern city of Curitiba.

Lula will only renounce his candidacy if it is proven that he owned a penthouse which he allegedly renovated in a corrupt deal, according to Boff.

“He wants to return to power to give a central place to Brazilian policies for the poor,” Boff was quoted as saying.

Lula was jailed on April 8 after being sentenced to 12 years for corruption and money-laundering in connection with the renovation of a beachside penthouse.

The renovation was bankrolled by a company seeking contracts with the state oil giant Petrobras.

Lula’s lawyers have launched an appeal process in an attempt to overturn his conviction so he can contest the October 7 elections. Opinion polls indicate he would win these with a large majority if he were to run.

Lula’s Workers’ Party has said it has no plan B in case he is not allowed to represent it in the elections. However, Brazil’s electoral tribunal is expected to bar him from the poll.

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