Brazil:Lula on a wave

The Labour Party candidate; Luis Inacio Lula da Silva (Lula) is set to run for the Presidential election next October for the fourth time.

For the first time in its history, the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT, Labour Party), has held internal elections to choose a single candidate for the presidency. Although the results will only be revealed on Wednesday, historic leader Luis Inacio Lula da Silva is expected to be confirmed as the party’s main hope for the Brazilian left wind to elect a President.

Lula will have to win against the rival candidate, senator Eduardo Suplicy, to be able to follow his strategy, namely that of forming political alliances to see him through a second round into the presidency. His contacts with the Liberal Party have caused protests from PT members, who claim “The alliance is with the people of Brazil”.

Lula, however, is adamant in his quest for a broad political basis of support, as he proceeds with his negotiations with a dissident group from the PMDB (Democratic Movement of Brazil), including the governor of the state of Minas Gerais, ex-President Itamar Franco. Political groups on the left, including presidential candidate Anthony Garotinho’s PSB (Socialists), the PDT (Democratic Workers) of Leonel Brizola and the Brazilian Communist party are all being contacted. Should Garotinho back Lula, he may drop out of the Presidential race.

Lula is confident. He declared at a press conference on Monday that “Today, the PT lives its best political moment. It is more organised and has important Prefectures (Municipalities)”, adding that the path ahead will be difficult and that it is his strategy to contact the parties which oppose the government of Fernando Henrique Cardoso, which has led the people of Brazil to suffer severe economic hardship.

The conflict between the other main presidential candidates immediately behind Lula (second placed Jose Serra and Roseana Sarney, in third) has for the moment worked to the advantage of the PT, whose strategy is to forget Sarney (PFL, Liberals) as a loser and to concentrate efforts on Serra (Social Democratic Party of Brazil).


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