politics

Anti-Corruption Crusader Is Eyeing Brazil Presidential Bid, Sources Say

  • Ex-Supreme Court Justice Barbosa is to join the PSB party
  • Barbosa presided over trial of major corruption scandal

Joaquim Barbosa

Photographer: Pedro Ladeira/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil’s former Supreme Court President Joaquim Barbosa is to join the Brazilian Socialist Party, or PSB, with an eye on running for president, according to three party sources.

Joaquim Barbosa

Photographer: Pedro Ladeira/AFP via Getty Images

The judge came to Brasilia to discuss his affiliation with party chiefs on Thursday morning, according to lower house deputy Julio Delgado. Under Brazilian law, candidates have until April 7 to join a party if they wish to run for election. Political parties do not have to register their candidates until August 15.

Barbosa, a 63 year-old black man raised in poverty, became a household name in Brazil during the Supreme Court’s handling of the so-called "mensalao" corruption scandal in the government of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Of all the potential candidates for October’s presidential elections, Barbosa has one of the lowest rejection ratings, at just 14 percent, according to Datafolha polling company. That compares with 60 percent for President Michel Temer and 40 percent for Lula.

The former judge is a presidential candidate "with potentially the best profile in the field," according to a note published by Eurasia Group on March 29, adding that he has a good mix of experience, anti-corruption credentials, and credibility on social issues.

"It’s a huge movement on the electoral chess board," said Richard Back, a political analyst at XP Investimentos.

— With assistance by Vinicius Andrade

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