Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who served as Brazil’s President 2003-11, has been found guilty on corruption and money-laundering charges with a sentence of nine years and six months in jail. With Lula in the pipeline for an extraordinary return to politics and the overwhelming favourite to win the 2018 Presidential election according to opinion polls, his lawyers and many of his supporters have categorised his conviction as a judicial coup to veto his return.
On this day in 1776, the Second Continental Congress issued the Declaration of Independence, the pretext for the 4th of July celebrations held across the USA every year.
The document effectively formed the United States of America, announcing the sovereignty of the 13 American colonies.
On this day in 1920, the German Republic held its 2nd ever democratic federal election. Set in a time of political instability and economic uncertainty, the election had a profound impact on politics in Weimar Germany and set the pace for the rest of its duration.
On May 4th, 1979, the results of the previous day’s general election revealed a Conservative majority in the House of Commons. Subsequently, Margaret Thatcher formed a government, initiating a premiership which would last over a decade.
On the 30th of April George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States of America.
Today, 23 years ago, the first general election was held in South Africa in which people were not excluded from the franchise based on race, bringing an end to white minority rule and seeing Nelson Mandela become the nation’s first President.
Centrist europhile Emmanuel Macron (24%, En Marche!) and staunch eurosceptic Marine Le Pen (21.3%, National Front) have beaten off all the establishment candidates. This has created an extraordinary match-up between two extremely different candidates. This election will prove tremendously significant in determining the direction France will take over the next five years and beyond, with wide repercussions for Europe.