Monday, October 30, 2006

Lula wins, Brazil to take a really hard left.

World: This is a lesson for any future politician in South America or Africa. Throw a couple of token crumbs to the poor and you are set to be elected for life.

Brazil's leftwing president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, won a landslide second term in power last night, a month after being forced into a run-off by allegations of corruption. With 92% of the vote counted last night, Lula had 61%, making it mathematically impossible for his opponent, Geraldo Alckmin of the Social Democratic Party (PSDB), to overtake him. Just after 7.30pm the president of Brazil's electoral commission, Marco Aurélio Mello, announced the victory at a press conference in Brazil's capital, Brasilia.
Meanwhile, cabinet members have promised a dramatic post-election change in economic policy. Yesterday the minister for institutional relations, Tarso Genro, told reporters to expect a departure from an orthodox economic policy that had been widely criticised by leftwingers hoping for more radical change following Lula's historic election in 2002. "The Palocci era is over in Brazil," Mr Genro said, in reference to Antonio Palocci, Lula's former finance minister, who was widely seen as the architect of the country's conservative economic policy. "[Low] growth rates, a neurotic preoccupation with inflation, without thinking about income distribution and growth - this is over."
Middle class Brazilians and up. Take a good long look at your money because it is getting grabbed like bank hold up times thousand.
He also promised a continuation of his policy of prioritising help for the country’s poor. “We will continue to govern for everyone but we will give more attention to the neediest. The poor will have preference in this Government,” he said. Senhor Lula da Silva also offered to work with the Opposition, promising talks soon on political reform, which he said the country badly needed. “The election is over. There are no more adversaries. The adversary now is social injustice.” Brazil has one of the world’s largest gaps between rich and poor, and the President has made income redistribution the priority of his first four years in office. His flagship achievement has been the creation of the Bolsa Família (Family Purse) programme whereby the poorest families receive up to £24 a month in social assistance so long as they send their children to school and to be vaccinated. More than 11 million families are enrolled in the programme, which reaches over three quarters of Brazil’s poor and an estimated 40 million voters, who form the bedrock of the President’s support. Senhor Alckmin’s main support comes from the middle classes where there is frustration at slow economic growth and anger at corruption within the Workers’ Party administration.

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