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Brazil’s Lula Listens to the Left and Vows to Turn Crisis Around

Pressured from all sides and even threatened with possible impeachment, Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva met today in BrasÀ­lia with his closest allies in the left side of the political spectrum in an effort to patch things up and salvage his shaky administration.

The President promised to have monthly meetings with leftist parties and recognized that he could have started such contacts earlier. He also mentioned the defeat of the 384 reais (US$ 163) minimum wage as the opposition in Congress wanted.


Lula saw this personal victory as a demonstration that the allied base can reorganize itself. He also affirmed his belief that Brazil’s economy will grow 5% in 2005 and warned that everybody will be “surprised” with the advance that the economy will have this year.
 
The President met with the presidents of the PT, Tarso Genro, of the Communist Party of Brazil (PC do B), Renato Rabelo, and the PSB’s acting president, Roberto Amaral. Lula complained that the radical political parties from the Left, among them the PSOL and PSTU, are letting themselves to be used “by the Right” to hit his government.


Rabelo and Amaral  made it clear that Lula can count on their support now, at this time of crisis, but said they are not committing themselves to the 2006 presidential election. The president commented that it’s still too early to talk about reelection.


President Lula showed to be troubled by the fact that the Congress Inquiries are summoning people such as call girls’s agent, Jeany Mary Corner, and the illegal dollar dealer Antônio Oliveira Claramunt,  better known as Toninho da Barcelona. For him these are excesses and the CPI (Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry) is being used by some for political advantage.


To draw the parties from the Left, Lula offered to open discussions on economic policy, the area most criticized by the allied base, promising that the parties would be able to meet with the team of Finance Minister, Antonio Palocci, and then present opinions and suggestions.


Lula even accepted the idea of discussing more in detail the budget execution, as well as  other government’s policies. “We want more room and we need to have more information even to be able to defend the government”, said Roberto Amaral.


The Brazilian President also used the occasion to disqualify the organizers of Wednesday’s march against his government and to praise the action of Tuesday’s demonstration that backed his administration. 


“Tuesday’s manifestation gathered the social movements with national prestige such as CUT (Unified Workers’ Federation), the Landless Movement (MST), and the UNE (Students’s National Union). 


The other, had some groups”, said Lula trying to minimize the other march, without taking into account the fact that there were more people in the anti-government rally. Trying to show optimism, Lula said that “the crisis is temporary” and that “we are going to turn this situation around.”

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