FIle photo of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Photograph:( Reuters )
Brazil's Supreme Court barred country's former president and currently serving 12-years sentence in prison Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from running for presidential polls this year.
Following the top electoral court's ruling, Lula's Workers' Party (PT) vowed to "fight with all means" to secure the leftist's candidacy in October's critical presidential election.
"We will present all appeals before the courts for the recognition of the rights of Lula provided by law and international treaties ratified by Brazil," said the party in a statement, adding that "we will defend Lula in the streets, with the people."
The widely expected decision removes a cloud hanging over Brazil's most uncertain election in decades - though Lula's lawyers have said they would appeal an adverse decision to the Supreme Court.
"What is at stake here today is the equality of all citizens before the law and the Constitution," Judge Og Fernandes told the court in his vote to declare Lula ineligible.
Judge Admar Gonzaga, who as a lawyer worked for Lula's handpicked successor Dilma Rousseff's 2010 election, cast the decisive vote in the 6-1 decision that sealed the leftist icon's ejection from the presidential election.
Lula, Brazil's most popular politician, is serving a 12-year sentence for a corruption conviction. His Workers Party registered him as its presidential candidate for the October 7 vote anyway, saying he is innocent.
Lula is ineligible for office under Brazil's "Clean Slate" law, which prohibits candidates from running if they have convictions that have been upheld on appeal.
Despite his conviction and several graft cases pending against him, Lula leads the race by a long stretch, with 39 per cent of voter support, according to pollster Datafolha. His nearest rival, far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, has 19 per cent.
Ads by the Workers Party calling on Brazilians to vote for Lula began to appear on social media on Friday and will be shown on television as of Saturday when the race enters its final 35 days of campaigning.
(With inputs from news agencies)