Rivals fear Lula comeback
Filmed, edited and produced by Gregory Bobillot. Additional footage: Getty, Reuters
Worshipped by some, hated by others. There are a few more polarising figures in Brazil today than former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Better known simply as Lula, the former president ruled Brazil between 2003 and 2010. His government was credited with lifting millions of poor above the breadline through minimum wage rises and social welfare benefits. His background as an immigrant from Brazil's poor Northeast allowed him to connect with the country's lower income earners better than any other president before him.
But since then, he has come under attack for alleged corruption.
There are today five investigations into wrongdoing against him. Even so, he is increasingly being touted as a possible candidate for elections next year. If he stands again, it would be one of Brazil's boldest political comeback attempts.
I'm standing outside the Lula Institute in Sao Paulo. The Lula Institute is the think tank of the former president. Prosecutors allege that there were irregularities in the acquisition of this land. They also allege that the president received favours from large construction companies in exchange for contracts at state owned oil company Petrobras. These include the use of a beachside apartment in Sao Paulo and also a rural getaway. The former president says that this is all a smear campaign to try to prevent him from running in next year's elections.
Analysts say a Lula comeback would face stern resistance. A conviction for corruption would be fatal for Lula's electoral chances.
In Lula's favour, however, is the unpopularity of the new president, a conservative, Michel Temer. Temer is trying to pass on popular reforms, such as an overhaul of the pension system.
There is also a lack of other possible candidates with the same charisma as Lula. Analysts say Lula's rejection rate in the polls is extremely high at about 66%, but this could be reduced during campaigning. Indeed, the party continues to draw new supporters, including young people, such as Carolina Bueno, a history graduate who works as a librarian.
For Lula's own survival and that of his party, the former president probably sees no other option than to stand, say analysts.
As Brazil emerges from the dark clouds of economic uncertainty and political turmoil, Lula is emerging as a possible candidate for elections next year. If he does decide to stand-- which is still a big if-- it will be highly controversial. While he is much loved by supporters of his PT Workers Party, he is reviled by those who see the party as responsible for Brazil's recession.
Whatever happens, next year's elections promise to be a period of great uncertainty for Latin America's largest country. Joe Leahy for "The Financial Times" in Sao Paulo.