Brazil’s Lula Is Back in the Lead for Presidential Election

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is again leading public opinion polls and is the favorite candidate for next October’s presidential election ahead of São Paulo city mayor José Serra who held the privileged ranking for the last six months.

According to the Sensus public opinion poll, Mr. Lula da Silva is ten points ahead of Mr. Serra, 47.6% to 37.6% with 14.9% undecided or with blank vote intention.

The poll was contracted by the Brazilian National Transport Confederation, with a 3% error margin and included 2.000 interviews done between February 6 and 9.

In the previous Sensus poll in November, Mr. Serra was leading 41.5% to Lula’s 37.6% with 21% undecided or with blank vote intention.

The mayor of São Paulo has been ahead of President Lula da Silva since last August when a bribes scandal in Congress involving the ruling Workers Party and coalition allies together with President Lula’s main political advisor shook Brazilian public opinion.

A poll from Datafolha also confirmed the tendency and Mr. Lula’s strong advance in spite of mid year’s corruption scandal. Datafolha shows the Brazilian president recovering the popularity that collapsed when the payments for votes scheme in Congress became public forcing the resignation of several notorious legislators.

Sensus also shows that 53.3% of Brazilians approve of President Lula’s personal performance, up from 46.7% last November and disapproval stands at 38%, down from November’s 44.2%.

Equally important the President’s rejection index, although still high, has dropped from 46.7% last November to 35.8% in February.

President Lula has yet to officially announce his re-election bid but on Monday, February 13, during the celebration of the Workers’ Party 26th anniversary said he would not register as a candidate until forced by law that is at the end of June.

"I can’t leave every day government and be involved in a political campaign because my adversaries want me in the arena", said President Lula during a gala dinner for party members.

However the opposition and most political analysts agree that the former union leader is in fact on the campaign trail, and has been for months, visiting the country, inaugurating public works and praising his administration’s achievements.

But Mr. Serra has not proclaimed himself as a pre candidate for the Brazilian Social Democrats, contrary to São Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin.

According to the Sensus poll, Lula would defeat governor Alckmin by 51.3% to 29.7% in the first round without the need of a run off. In the previous November reading the score was 40.8 to 32.2%.

Nevertheless presidential hopeful Mr. Alckmin was enthusiastic about his chances and recommended Mr. Lula to try on the Christian "humble sandals". "I’ve seen so many politicians put on the high heels and be beaten…"

During the anniversary celebrations it was announced that the Workers Party with 800.000 members has become the largest in Brazil.

Tickets for the gala dinner ranged between US$ 92 and US$ 2.300  dollars.

Finance Minister Antonio Palocci, the architect behind the sound orthodox economic policies which several times threatened to split the originally workers and Socialist party, is tipped to become the coordinator of President Lula’s bid for re-election.

Mercopress – www.mercopress.com

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