While Brazil Burns Lula’s Popularity Rises

Brazilian public opinion remains strongly behind President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in spite of the cascade of corruption claims against the ruling Workers Party, which he helped begin 25 years ago and took him to victory in 2002.

According to the prestigious Brazilian pollster Sensus which was contracted by the National Transport Confederation, CNT, a union close to the ruling coalition, the positive assessment of President Lula da Silva actually increased from 39,8% in May to 40,3% in July.


“The president remains stable. Corruption claims have not affected him, he’s untarnished,” said Clésio Andrade, CNT president.


The interviews were done between July 5 and 7, among 2,000 people from 195 of the 5,500 towns in Brazil, with an error margin of 3%.


The poll shows that those who describe Mr. Lula da Silva’s performance as average dropped from 38,3% in May to 37,1% in July with the negative opinion increasing from 18,8% to 20% in early July.


The opinion poll seems to counteract the growing feeling among some political analysts that the Brazilian president’s popularity was plummeting and his chances of re-election in October 2006 rapidly eroding.


“The poll reflects partly the government’s policy and also from the opposition’s strategy of trying to keep the president far from the scandal”, said Cristiano Noronha from political consultants Arko Advice.


“The opposition is not interested in impeaching the President, they don’t want the government KO now, but rather that it keeps eroding as we get closer to the elections”, added Mr. Noronha.


Furthermore, 64,7% of those interviewed said that bribing congressmen is an old habit in Brazilian politics, while only 18% stated that it was truly a Workers Party strategy to ensure legislative support, and 17% didn’t reply or ignored the issue.


“For public opinion, corruption always existed, it’s a Congressional matter, including the Workers Party, but not Lula, he’s not involved, he’s out of it”, said Mr. Andrade.


President Lula da Silva has promised that he will “cut his own flesh” if needed to fight corruption.


The poll is the first piece of good news for the Lula da Silva administration in weeks of defending itself against a landslide of corruption allegations which forced the resignation of five close aides of the President, pillars of his administration and who kept tight control over the Workers Party.


The first to drop out was José Dirceu, the mastermind of the 2002 victory and Cabinet Chief; he was followed by the chairman, treasurer, communications secretary and president of the Workers Party, plus a cabinet reshuffle still in the making.


This article appeared originally in Mercopress – www.mercopress.com.

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