Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva administration is the second most corrupt in the country's recent history according to a survey from the Perseu Abramo Foundation belonging to the Workers Party which last Saturday confirmed Lula's re-election bid.
The public opinion poll released in the Foundation's internet page shows that 71% of those interviewed mentioned the administration of former president Fernando Collor de Mello (1990/91) as the most corrupt followed by the current government of Lula da Silva who took office January 2002.
Collor de Mello who actually defeated Lula in the 1989 election was impeached and removed from office by Congress following a chain of corruption scandals. His mandate was completed by vice president Itamar Franco.
Lula da Silva's government is rated as the one with most corruption cases by 37% of those surveyed, followed by the administration of Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1995/2002) with 32%. Jose Sarney's government, from 1985/89 rated with 17% and Itamar Franco's with 10%.
The Lula da Silva administration is under investigation for having paid out regular sums to Congress members to ensure a working majority, while the Workers Party was allegedly involved in skimming government programs and racketing private loans to help finance campaigns and faithful "followers" in the Legislative branch.
President Lula has repeatedly said publicly that he knew nothing of the payments scheme. However 50% of those surveyed by the Foundation believe he was aware of the financing against 29% who think he's innocent. But in spite of all, President Lula is considered favourite to win the coming presidential election in October.
The Perseu Abramo Foundation findings show that Lula's popularity responds to the fact that 69% of those interviewed believe "there's corruption in all (Brazilian) administrations", but 54% are convinced that the Workers Party is the one which most protects the poor and destitute.
According to local analysts this can be attributed to the so called "Chinese growth syndrome", which describes the expanding purchasing power of the poor classes in Brazil. This means that although Brazil in the last three and a half years accumulated 3.5% growth, the purchasing power of the poorest 10% Brazilians actually increased 8% annually.
The higher incomes are based mostly on subsidized social programs and a significant increase in the minimum salary which benefited some 60 million Brazilians living under the poverty line out of a total population of 185 million.
In electoral language this means that 30 million Brazilians in the northeast receive a monthly assistance check and tend to vote in block.
The survey included 2.379 adult Brazilians over the age of 16 in urban and rural areas in 153 municipalities in the country's 25 states and was taken between March 10 and 16.