12 Apr 2018 – 17:00

 Brazil's leftists rename themselves 'Lula'

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva holds his grandson Pedro while waves supporters from the balcony of his apartment in Sao Bernardo do Campo, some 25 km from Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 13, 2016. AFP / Nelson Almeida


Brasília:  If Brazil’s right-wing politicians thought they’d seen the last of Lula with his imprisonment, they couldn’t have reckoned on running into more than 60 new “Lulas” popping up in Congress on Wednesday.

Like an army of clones, members of Lula’s Workers’ Party in the legislature have changed their names to that of their fiery leader.

The tribute to the disgraced two-term former president — and gleeful dig at his opponents — was led by the Workers’ Party head, Senator Gleisi Hoffmann.

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From now on, she will be referred to in the legislature as Gleisi Lula Hoffmann, she wrote in a letter to the Senate speaker published Wednesday.

That includes every time the speaker wishes to call upon her during debates and the way her name will appear on the electronic voting board.
The party’s leader in the lower house, hitherto known as Paulo Pimenta, sent a similar letter: he is now Paulo Lula Pimenta.

The 60 Workers’ Party deputies in the lower house have followed suit.
The stunt doesn’t go as far as legally changing the politicians’ names, but “it’s a way to show our solidarity,” said a party spokesman.

The backlash, however, has already started.

Sostenes Cavalcante, from the small right-wing DEM party, has informed that he will now make Moro his middle name, paying tribute to Judge Sergio Moro, who convicted Lula.

And Capitao Augusto, from the right-wing Partido da Republica, insists on becoming Capitao Augusto Bolsonaro — a reference to Jair Bolsonaro, a hard-right former army captain, presidential candidate and scourge of Lula.

Lula was convicted of taking a seaside apartment as a bribe and imprisoned Saturday to start serving a 12-year sentence. He says the trial was a plot to prevent him from running in October presidential elections in which he currently in the lead.