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Brazil’s jailed ex-leader appears in 1st campaign ad

August 22, 2018 GMT

              FILE - In this Aug. 14, 2018 file photo, supporters of Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva hold masks in his likeness at the start of a march coined "Free Lula March" in Brasilia, Brazil. Da Silva and his Workers’ Party have insisted he is running for president again in October, but most in Brazil expect him to eventually be barred from the race because of his corruption conviction. General elections are set for October. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)

              FILE - In this Aug. 14, 2018 file photo, supporters of Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva hold masks in his likeness at the start of a march coined "Free Lula March" in Brasilia, Brazil. Da Silva and his Workers’ Party have insisted he is running for president again in October, but most in Brazil expect him to eventually be barred from the race because of his corruption conviction. General elections are set for October. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)

              FILE - In this Aug. 14, 2018 file photo, supporters of Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva hold masks in his likeness at the start of a march coined "Free Lula March" in Brasilia, Brazil. Da Silva and his Workers’ Party have insisted he is running for president again in October, but most in Brazil expect him to eventually be barred from the race because of his corruption conviction. General elections are set for October. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)
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FILE - In this Aug. 14, 2018 file photo, supporters of Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva hold masks in his likeness at the start of a march coined "Free Lula March" in Brasilia, Brazil. Da Silva and his Workers’ Party have insisted he is running for president again in October, but most in Brazil expect him to eventually be barred from the race because of his corruption conviction. General elections are set for October. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)
1 of 2
FILE - In this Aug. 14, 2018 file photo, supporters of Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva hold masks in his likeness at the start of a march coined "Free Lula March" in Brasilia, Brazil. Da Silva and his Workers’ Party have insisted he is running for president again in October, but most in Brazil expect him to eventually be barred from the race because of his corruption conviction. General elections are set for October. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)

SAO PAULO (AP) — Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is in jail, but he features in his party’s first ad ahead of October’s presidential election and a new poll released Wednesday indicates he’s still leading the race — even if electoral courts are likely to bar him from running within weeks.

Da Silva focuses on the economy in the video released on the internet. The once hugely popular former president, who governed from 2003 to 2010, doesn’t mention the corruption conviction that put him in jail in April, which he is appealing and describes as political persecution.

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“I want to thank all of the Brazilian people who will keep taking to the streets to defend their pensions, education, pay raises and, overall, to defend their jobs and to get new jobs,” da Silva says in the message, which was taped before his arrest.

He accuses unpopular President Michel Temer, who took over after his da Silva’s ally Dilma Rousseff was impeached in 2016, of cutting help for the poorest Brazilians.

Vice presidential candidate Fernando Haddad also appears in the video, which celebrates da Silva’s registration as a formal candidate last week. The former Sao Paulo mayor is expected to take over the presidential candidacy if da Silva is barred.

A new poll by Datafolha Institute released Wednesday shows da Silva still holds a double-digit advantage over his closest rivals.

Thirty-nine percent of those polled said they favored da Silva, while rightist congressman Jair Bolsonaro was backed by 19 percent.

But when da Silva was omitted, Bolsonaro topped the list with 22 percent, while Haddad trailed far behind several other candidates with 4 percent.

Former cabinet ministers Marina Silva and Ciro Gomes and former Sao Paulo Gov. Geraldo Alckmin registered in single digits with da Silva in the race. With him dropped, Marina Silva ran second to Bolsonaro with 16 percent.

Datafolha interviewed 8,433 potential voters in 313 cities on Aug. 20 and 21. The poll’s margin of error is 2 percentage points.