Responding to claims that former president Lula da Silva ‘is returning to politics’ and thus conditioning her re-election bid next year, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff said the former trade union leader ‘never left politics’ and their relation ‘can’t be dissociated’. She also ratified Finance minister Guido Mantega.
“Lula and I are un-dissociated. To talk about the ‘return of Lula’, I think Lula is not returning since he never left. As he once said: ‘I’m going to die making politics. They can do whatever they want but I will be an old and frail man but still will be involved in politics’” said Rousseff in an interview with Folha de Sao Paulo.
After having lost over thirty percentage points of support because of the month long wave of protests across the main cities of Brazil, when tens of thousands turned to the streets, the idea of a return of Lula da Silva as presidential candidate started to take force.
Emilio Odebrecht, and leader of one of Brazil’s most important public works conglomerates publicly stated that the ruling Workers Party should present as candidate next year Lula da Silva, with the current governor of Pernambuco Eduardo Campos from the Brazilian Socialist party as his ticket’s Vice-president.
In October 2014 Brazil will be holding elections at presidential, legislative and regional levels in which Rousseff is expected to bid for re-election.
“I never comment opinion polls, not even when I go down or I go up. Sure I look at them but I also know perfectly well that what goes up then comes down, and everything that goes down then comes up”, said Rousseff who did no reply about the Lula da Silva option next year.
Rousseff insisted that the movement sponsoring the return of Lula is not disappointing her, ‘not even a little’ and added that ‘I don’t discuss succession problems. That discussion belongs to someone who is not president, and as president I will not discuss it”.
“The relation with Lula is above all those people and rumours and wishes. I’m entirely involved, and have been for years with the government of Lula da Silva”
Rousseff admitted to be accustomed to criticism, even from Lula da Silva when she was Minister of Mines and Energy and later as cabinet chief.
As to the month-long of protests the Brazilian president said she understood them and justified them: “when people experience a ‘quantitative inclusion’ regarding income, social advances and more democracy, people insist in demanding more rights and better quality of public services”.
Finally and despite the anaemic performance of the Brazilian economy, inflation and higher interest rates, the president strongly ratified Finance minister Mantega: “Guido is where he has always been at the Finance ministry, and I can assure you I won’t talk about ministerial reform”.