Lula edges closer to jail after ruling

The 72-year-old leftist politician who served as the country's president between 2003 and 2011 had his sights set on winning back the office in the election in October, a prospect now very remote despite his lead in opinion polls.

On the right, Lula is considered the face of corruption sweeping the country's political elite. There are two higher courts which he can still turn to, the Superior Court and the Supreme Court - the latter has only ruled for far on whether he should go to jail pending further appeals, rather than on the underlying case.

Mr. Henrique Meirelles, the Finance Minister of Brazil, recently made public his plans to get on board with the Brazilian Democratic Movement political party - its name is often shortened to MDB - and is expected to run for president of Brazil just four months from now.

Mr da Silva, who is known as Lula, claims that the charges are politically motivated and threaten a return to dictatorship.

The Brazilian economy also ran into serious difficulties under Lula' s successor, ex-president Dilma Rousseff and society remains deeply divided over her impeachment on a legal technicality. The matter would be decided once six of the 11 members voted for one option or the other.

In a 6-5 decision, the Supreme Federal Tribunal rejected da Silva's request to remain free while he appeals a 12-year prison sentence for corruption.

Supporters hail Moro as a hero taking on endemic corruption while detractors, particularly supporters of da Silva's Workers' Party, consider him a partisan hit man.

His defenders say the charges against him and the handling of the trial process are nothing more than an elaborate plot to keep a popular left-wing candidate off the ballot.

Lula himself was convicted of receiving a renovated beachfront apartment worth some 3.7 million reais ($1.1m, £790,000), as a bribe by engineering firm OAS. In August, the country's top electoral court makes final decisions about candidacies. Many legal observers had said that allowing da Silva to stay out of jail could have a big impact on all the other cases related to "Car Wash" and other white-collar criminals with the means to continue appealing.

Lula has described the battle against his conviction and prison term as a continuation of his fight against Brazil's military rule, which came to an end in 1985.

Sen. Lindbergh Farias from the Workers' Party said vigils would be organized nationwide beginning on Friday.

"Brazil hopes that after today's vote Sergio Moro is able to order his arrest to show corruption doesn't work", Bolsonaro said while demonstrating outside Congress in Brasilia during the session.