Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said that this coming October election will be the first since 1985 that his name won’t figure in the ballot, “but to fill that void I will change my name and I will call myself Dilma Rousseff.” Lula was speaking Sunday at the Workers Party convention, which confirmed his hand-picked nominee Dilma Rousseff as the party’s presidential candidate.
“When she’s elected president I will defend her at the gates of factories, in the streets because she has the face and presence of a president,” added Lula.
This is effectively the first time since Brazil returned to democracy in 1985 that his name will not be in the presidential ballot, having been elected for the first time in 2002 and reelected in 2006.
Lula also called on the candidate to play it cool and not let her be drawn by the “dirty tricks” campaign of the opposition.
“Let’s hope our adversaries are willing to a high level, clean campaign and not be tempted by dirty tricks making up stories and claims every single day. We know how they work. We must take is easy and quiet because they’ll come with everything they have to try and win the election,” warned Lula.
The president also countered the ‘neo-corrupt’ description given by opposition candidate and former São Paulo governor José Serra to his administration.
Close aides of Ms Rousseff campaign have been accused of trying to mount a telephone bugging system on Mr. Serra and his team, and of having prepared reports with confidential data on political adversaries.
Lula and party officials have sternly denied such allegations but a retired high ranking intelligence police officer expert in communications claims he was approached and offered money for such a task.
He is scheduled to testify before Congress and the head of media relations of the Rousseff campaign resigned after having admitted to contacts with the police officer and an Army communications expert.
President Lula has also been fined on several occasions for having openly participated in support of Ms Rousseff candidacy, which is strictly ruled and banned under Brazilian electoral legislation. The fines have been appealed.