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Montevideo, November 18th 2018 - 18:38 UTC

Ex president Lula admits he might have to step down as candidate in 2018

Thursday, August 24th 2017 - 09:54 UTC
Full article 19 comments
“I know my enemies want to block any possibility of me being a candidate and I am fighting that,” Lula said. “But nobody is irreplaceable,” he added. “I know my enemies want to block any possibility of me being a candidate and I am fighting that,” Lula said. “But nobody is irreplaceable,” he added.
A possible stand-in is the former mayor of Sao Paulo, Fernando Haddad, who gained national prominence as education minister under Lula A possible stand-in is the former mayor of Sao Paulo, Fernando Haddad, who gained national prominence as education minister under Lula
Finance minister Meirelles told Folha if you asked him who is going to win in 2018, “I believe that a reformist message should win” Finance minister Meirelles told Folha if you asked him who is going to win in 2018, “I believe that a reformist message should win”

Former Brazilian president Lula da Silva told Reuters on Wednesday that his recent conviction for corruption might mean that his Workers Party will have to field a candidate other than him in next year's election.

 In an interview during a marathon bus tour through Brazil's impoverished northeastern states, Lula said the Brazilian government should spend its way out of its worst recession on record and even use some of its international reserves instead of cutting government programs that hurt the poor.

Lula's 2003-11 government lifted millions from poverty and polls show he is still one of Brazil's most popular politicians. However, his political future hangs in the balance after he was convicted last month of receiving bribes from a construction firm in return for help winning government contracts.

If that conviction is upheld on appeal, Lula will likely be barred from running and could be imprisoned.

“I know my enemies want to block any possibility of me being a candidate and I am fighting that,” Lula, 71, told Reuters in a hotel room where he complained that his arms hurt from physically embracing thousands of supporters who have turned out at every stop of his tour.

“But nobody is irreplaceable,” he added. “If there is any problem, the Workers Party has to be able to launch another candidate.”

A possible stand-in is the former mayor of Sao Paulo, Fernando Haddad, who gained national prominence as education minister under Lula and extended university access to poorer Brazilians.

Brazil's real currency extended gains on the news that Lula was contemplating his own replacement, firming more than 1.2 percent to its strongest in more than two weeks. Traders said the prospect of a 2018 race without Lula reinforced bets on Brazil sticking to fiscal austerity and pursuing structural reforms.

Meanwhile in Brasilia, Finance minister Henrique Meirelles said that a presidential candidate running on a reformist platform, who promises to maintain the current government's efforts to control expenses and put public spending in order, will have a good chance in the next election.

“If you ask me who is going to win, I believe that a reformist message should win”, he said on Monday (the 21st) in an interview with Folha.

“The populist position has been sufficiently tested and the result was negative. The population has been alerted to this.”

A member of the PSD, one of the parties that supports President Michel Temer in Congress, Meirelles has been mentioned as a potential candidate for the governing block for the presidential elections of 2018, but he changes the subject when questioned about the idea.

“I am focused on my work, which is to carry out the reforms and ensure the growth of the country for the next few years”, he says. “I'm not worried about [my] future”.

In Meirelles' opinion, a platform in favor of reform and austerity will have a good chance in the presidential election if it is associated with a recovery of the economy, which seems to be slowly emerging from the deep recession it has been in for the last three years.

Categories: Politics, Brazil.

Top Comments

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  • Jack Bauer

    @DT
    “they can always print money to pay off the loans...” ...presumably you mean those who take the loans ; a good point, as neither will the lender want to be paid in a devalued currency.

    The lack of government actions that harm people or cause their deaths, is seen all over Brazil....the poorer the county the worse things (usually) are....the mayors receive either State and/or Federal funds, let's say to build a much needed and “lobbied-for” hospital, and what happens 90% of the time, is either contruction is started but not finished, allegations being shortage of funds (I wonder why ?), so the skeleton of the building is abandoned, left to rot / or is completed, but there is no equipment, so it's never opened, left to rot / or never built, and the money disappears...and no one is held responsible...that is changing very slowly, but we've only scratched the surface of the corruption responsible. In these poorer counties, people seriouly ill, or badly injured, many times are left lying in the corridors..for hours, for days, .and when they die due to lack of attention, everyone tries to shift the blame to someone else...this even happens in big centres, such as SP (less) and Rio (more).

    Why Lula is not punished for anticipated campaigning, I don't know, but the TSE is not doing it's job. Rumours of his stepping down just before the candidates have to register (believe end-July next year) are getting stronger...I think he does not want to embarasss himself, and will invent some excuse when the time comes, such as health reasons etc..
    He no longer attracts the crowds he used to....and although he is loath to admit it, knows he is unlikely to win the election.
    Once Temer has pushed all the reforms through Congress, if proven guilty I'd like to see him pay for his crimes...gotta break the tradition that the political elite is above the law. Well, in the unlikely case of Lula being convicted but not sent to prison, I think this would favour Temer.

    Sep 01st, 2017 - 05:45 pm +1
  • Jack Bauer

    @DT
    It is not uncommon for bills presented by some private hospitals/clinics that have agreements with the government, to be inflated - to cover pay offs. There are over 5,500 counties in Brazil, 90% being small and virtually unheard of by most....with a few exceptions, and these exceptions not necessarily including the larger counties, the mayors are usually of low moral calibre, using the public administration as if it were their family business. It's obvious they think that since they are relatively invisible, their stealing will go unnoticed. But (I presume) encouraged by the “lavajato”, and the need for money, the federal police have been investigating and uncovering hundreds of frauds perpetrated by these small-time criminals, which in the past were ignored.

    Considering that Lula's current conviction will probably be reconfirmed by the TRF4 before next year's election, and that Temer will most likely manage to dodge prosecution until he leaves office, the timing will not be in Lula's favour.

    Provided the funds actually end up in infrastructure projects and not in someone's bank account, of course I'm in favour of government spending.....one of the problems today, is the fact that the government currently has dozens of State-run companies, most producing large deficits - like Eletrobras, an accumulated total of R$ 228 billion in the last 15 years - so privatization is the way to go...only when national security is involved, then so should the government. While most of Congress has come to realize that money is being wasted, there are politicians, mainly the ultra-left ones, who are against privatization as it means the end of the political use of these companies, reducing corruption. The crisis has forced many to realize that the government cannot afford to keep on funding bad investments (bad, when administered by the government, and good while in the hands of the private sector.)

    Sep 02nd, 2017 - 08:12 pm +1
  • Jack Bauer

    Despite trying to downplay his crimes, and claim he is the eternal victim of political persecution, the toad is “already” promoting his candidacy for the presidential elections, to be held October 2018....which is totally illegal. He should be obeying the Law, and shut up until the TSE opens the registration - around mid-2018 - but that that never been one of his strong points, as he believes his political history puts him above the Law.

    Aug 24th, 2017 - 06:31 pm 0
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