Brazil’s Lula Starts Political Overhaul and Vows Not to Seek Third Term

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva asked on Monday, April 23, for opposition support to overhaul a political system which he described as vulnerable to corruption and also promised he would not seek a third term in 2010, a sensitive issue for the opposition.

In his second mandate, which begun last January, Lula da Silva has managed to assemble an eleven party ruling coalition with a majority in both houses of Congress, which he did not have during his first four years.

However, political reform is not necessarily a cohesion factor and the Brazilian president has had to appeal for support from the opposition in an effort to eradicate some common practices such as switching parties in Congress which limits commitment to coalitions and overall creditability of the political system.

Another issue which is particularly close to Lula is campaign financing, which almost brought his government down in 2005 and forced him to replace some of his closest aides allegedly involved in a ring to skim funds, both from government agencies and companies, and the private sector, to bribe legislators and pass Executive initiatives in Congress and illicit campaigning.

Lula pledged political reform last year after his own ruling Workers' Party admitted using illicit campaign funds in 2002.

"We now have to talk with the opposition," the former union leader said on his weekly radio address. "We all need to work to recover credibility in the political institutions, especially political parties."

The Brazilian president also sent a strong message to the political system denying he wanted to reform the constitution to allow him to run a third time in 2010.

"I have nothing to run for in 2010. When the president is no longer focused on a presidential election, it's much easier to govern a country," Lula said.

Mercopress

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