Brasília — Brazil’s former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has never taken the easy path but on Thursday the one-time shoeshine boy turned political giant embarks on his most audacious challenge yet: to recapture the presidency — and avoid prison. The presidential election won’t take place until October 2018 and the many potential candidates are still keeping below the radar. Campaigning is not even officially allowed. But when Lula embarks on a bus tour of about 20 cities through the northeast late on Thursday, there’ll be no doubting what he wants. Modeled on a marathon tour of 359 cities he made two decades ago, the "Lula for Brazil" bus trip is the fiery speaker’s opening bid for a spectacular comeback. A spokesperson said there’ll be rallies at universities created during his 2003-10 rule, meetings with small-scale farmers, and events aimed at defending anti-poverty projects now under threat from the centre-right government’s austerity cuts. In other words, 71-year-old Lula...

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