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Brazil's top court rules against da Silva on prison

Lula was sentenced to 12 years in prison for supposed corruption which will likely block him from the presidency. In spite of this the leftist leader continues to lead all polls

The ruling likely ends his political career and any chances he has of running for president, despite opinion polls showing he would easily win a first-round vote in an election scheduled for October.

A majority of the Supreme Court's 11 judges rejected a request from the leftist firebrand political leader to remain free while he appeals against a corruption conviction. The three reviewing magistrates even lengthened the sentence to 12 years and one month.

Da Silva wants the court to spare him prison while he appeals.

The country's top court has voted 6-5 to deny Lula's plea and ruled he must start serving a 12-year prison sentence for graft.

Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva wipes sweat from his face during his presidential campaign rally with members of his Workers Party and leaders of other left-wing parties in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, April 2, 2018.

On the eve of the session that began on Wednesday afternoon, the country's army commander raised eyebrows - and was widely celebrated and condemned online - with tweets subtly supporting Mr da Silva's incarceration. "I can't accept an innocent man being in prison". The decision could radically alter October's presidential election and affect stability in Latin America's largest nation.

Investigators uncovered a major scheme in which construction companies essentially formed a cartel that doled out inflated contracts from state oil company Petrobras, paying billions in kickbacks to politicians and businessmen. Rousseff was impeached and removed from office amid corruption scandals and economic crisis in mid-2016.

A defiant Workers Party, founded by Lula, said its supporters would take to the streets to defend his right to run.

Demonstrators against Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva celebrate Supreme Court justices' votes as they are made public outside the National Congress in Brasilia, Brazil.

While it's clear that the current Brazilian Minister of Finance wants to run for the presidency of the Portuguese-speaking, South American country, he might not be able to actually run for the sought-after spot of being the President of Brazil because the Brazilian Democratic Movement party is the largest in the country, making it hard for him to beat out other primary candidates, due simply to the vast amount of competition within the MDB party every single election cycle. The Superior Electoral Court could decide to make such an exception if Lula registers as a presidential candidate before the August 15 deadline. A 2010 Brazilian law prohibits those convicted of crimes that aren't overturned through an appeal from running for office for a minimum of eight years, according to BBC.