More Popular Than Ever, Brazil’s Lula Grants God Brazilian Citizenship

Smiling Lula On the campaign trail for the coming municipal elections in Brazil next October, Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, underlined the activities of his administration since he took office in January 2003 by saying: "God has publicly admitted that he's Brazilian."

Campaigning for Marta Suplicy from the ruling Workers Party (PT) to  mayor of Brazil's powerhouse São Paulo city, the Brazilian leader joked that "God has publicly admitted he's Brazilian, and since Lula is around I'll be staying a little bit more."

Lula promised during the political rally that Brazil "will become more independent" with all the mega oil fields discovered in the Santos basin offshore Rio do Janeiro and São Paulo, estimated in over 50 billion barrels of oil and gas.

In the same joyful tone the former metal union leader added that the Brazilian economy has grown "so much and so fast" that there's shortage of qualified manpower so when "I leave office they can contract me again as a lathe operator".

However he also attacked the opposition, incumbent São Paulo mayor Gilberto Kassab, who's running for re-election, "during day time they criticize me but at night they distribute pamphlets with my photo; they are not acting politically, they are opportunists".

The fact is that given the high popularity rating of Lula several candidates from other parties in different cities have identified themselves with his administration.

For example, another São Paulo city candidate, Geraldo Alckmin, who belongs to the party of former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso and was defeated in the presidential race by Lula, came out with a television spot saying: "With Lula all is fine; the problem is the Workers Party". Marta Suplicy leads in the opinion polls and Kassab and Alckmin are tied as runner ups.

Lula's administration broke all support records since taking office in 2003, according to a public opinion poll released this Monday, September 22, by Instituto Sensus. When taking office, the Brazilian president public support stood at 56.6% and last April (five years later) had reached 57.7%, but has since gained another eleven points and has reached 68.8%, with only 6.8% negative evaluation.

As to the president's personal standing, it has soared to 77.7%, just below his highest in March 2003 with 78.9%.

"Lula has achieved the highest popularity ratings of a Brazilian president since we began with opinion polls in 1998", said Sensus CEO Ricardo Guedes. The popularity is strongly cemented on the "good performance of the economy and the social programs".

Presidential popularity has become the main asset for the municipal elections of next month with 44.1% of voters saying they are willing to vote for the candidate Lula supports. "He attracts votes and has the capacity to transfer them also," added Guedes.

The Sensus poll involved 2.000 interviews from September 15 to 19 with a margin error of 3 percentage points. Interviews also showed 73.82% of Brazilians expect improvements regarding jobs, income, security, health and education.



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