April 7, 2018, was a day of historical importance for Brazil. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (known as Lula) was arrested for corruption and money laundering. Aside from being immensely popular, the center-left former president was, up until that day, also the leading contender in this year’s national election. His arrest makes disqualification a near certainty. At the moment, there is no candidate on the left who comes close to his popularity or poll numbers. It is unclear how much of the goodwill toward his Workers’ Party (PT) will be transferred to a new candidate, and how much of it will flow elsewhere.

Lula is an unique figure in Brazilian politics: He’s a charismatic leader associated with left-wing and progressive causes (though far from a radical), as well as an able politician who can work backstage to stitch up unlikely alliances when needed....

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