Dozens of Brazilian lawmakers from the socialist Workers’ Party, the PT, have requested to change their names to include “Lula.”
The act is in solidarity with former President and founding member of PT Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. On Saturday, Lula da Silva turned himself over to federal authorities to begin serving a 12-year prison sentence for corruption.
PT politicians in both houses of Brazil’s National Congress submitted requests to include Lula in their parliamentary name, which identifies them in the polls and during legislative sessions.
“It’s the ‘I’m Lula’ campaign. Lula asked us all to speak for him,” PT Sen. Lindbergh Farias, who requested his name be changed to Lindbergh Lula Farias, told the state-run news agency Agencia Brasil.
The campaign also included the PT president and senator from the southern state of Paraná, Gleisi Hoffmann.
“I request your excellency to alter, in the records of this House, including in the plenary electronic panel, my parliamentary name of Gleisi Hoffmann to Gleisi Lula Hoffmann,” Hoffmann said in a letter addressed to President of the Senate Eunicio Oliveira.
In the Chamber of Deputies, Brazil’s lower congressional house, at least 36 PT lawmakers submitted name change requests to the chamber’s presidency, state media reported.
Lula da Silva was found guilty in July 2017 of corruption and money laundering in a wide-ranging graft investigation into the state-run oil company Petrobras, dubbed “Operation Car Wash.” His request to remain free while appealing the conviction was denied by a federal court last week.
Since Lula da Silva surrendered to federal police, PT politicians and supporters have held rallies calling for his release and claiming his innocence.
The 72-year-old, who governed Brazil from 2003-2011, was considered a front-runner in the presidential elections in October 2018. However, his detention has cast serious doubt on his bid to regain power.