Brazil prosecutor’s move against Lula clouds ruling party’s outlook

A request by Brazil’s prosecutor general for a Supreme Court investigation of ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva raises the odds against the ruling Workers Party emerging from scandal in time for the 2018 presidential election, analysts said on Wednesday.

Already hurt by fallout from a massive corruption scheme, and impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff, the leftist party is largely resigned to her removal.

Few believe she will escape conviction if the Senate votes next week to suspend her from office and open a trial over alleged budget irregularities, as expected.

But the Workers Party, in power since 2003, has long considered Lula its ace in the hole for future elections.

Rousseff’s mentor and a hero to millions of poor voters, Lula remained popular among many even as Brazil’s economy entered recession and prosecutors alleged that he may have benefited from kickbacks and obstructed justice in a probe into graft at state oil company Petrobras (PETR4.SA).

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