RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Tuesday he was open to running in the next election at over 80-years-old, if necessary to block “a fascist” from office.

In an interview with the CBN broadcaster, Lula alluded to the government of his far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro, saying he “would not allow this country to once again be governed by a fascist.”

Lula, 78, took office for his third term in January 2023, after a razor-thin victory over Bolsonaro, who came under fire for his polarizing style and attacks on democratic institutions.

When the next election comes around in October 2026, Lula will be on the verge of turning 81, “the prime of his life”, as he told the interviewer.

“If it is necessary to run for office to prevent the troglodytes who governed this country from governing again, you can be sure that 80 years will turn into 40 and I could run for office,“ he said.

However, only one year and seven months into his latest mandate, Lula said this was “not the first hypothesis.”

“There are many good people who could be candidates,“ he said.

Lula governed the Latin American giant for two consecutive terms between 2003 and 2010.

Bolsonaro has been banned from holding public office until 2030 for baselessly questioning Brazil’s voting system.

However, he remains very active in politics at the head of the Liberal Party, and is campaigning in support of candidates ahead of October municipal elections.

He frequently compares his disqualification to that of the opposition in Venezuela or Nicaragua.

Brazilian authorities are investigating whether Bolsonaro fomented a coup attempt to prevent Lula from assuming office.

In a separate investigation, police have recommended Bolsonaro be charged for falsifying his Covid-19 vaccination records.