July 27, 2018 / 7:05 PM / 2 years ago

Lula vows to undo sale of Brazilian assets if returned to office

FILE PHOTO: Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva speaks at his book launch event in Sao Paulo, Brazil March 16, 2018. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker/File Photo

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Jailed former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said in article published on Friday that if he is elected again in October he would seek a popular referendum to reverse the sale of assets of state-run companies like Petrobras (PETR4.SA) and Eletrobras (ELET6.SA).

Lula also vowed to stop a planned $4.75 billion joint venture that would give Boeing Co (BA.N) a controlling stake in the commercial aircraft arm of Brazilian planemaker Embraer SA (EMBR3.SA).

Lula, still Brazil’s most popular politician despite serving time for a corruption conviction, will be nominated as a presidential candidate by his Workers Party on Sunday but he is expected to be barred from running by the country’s top electoral court.

In his op/ed article in the Correio Braziliense, Lula lambasted incumbent President Michel Temer for handing over the country’s resources to foreign companies with concessions that grant access to billions of barrels of oil.

“The sale of control over Embraer to Boeing is part of that same hand-over policy, forfeiting one of the most advanced sectors of Brazilian industry and one of the pillars of our defense strategy,” he wrote.

The privatisation of Brazil’s largest utility, state-run Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA, known as Eletrobras, is another example of “national destruction,” Lula said.

He said he was committed to revoking all measures that hurt Brazil’s independence and would do so by means of a referendum.

Lula argued his imprisonment was part of a process of “national submission.”

“They want to exclude me from the election and silence my voice, in an attempt to intimidate and silence the Brazilian people while their resources are being openly looted,” he said.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Bill Trott

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