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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Lula poised to win big in Brazil

Report out of Brazil confirmed that incumbent president Luis Inacio da sylva, better known as Lula, has won a convincing victory against former Sao Paulo governor, Geraldo Alckmin. Lula’s reelection has been in doubt after he was forced into a run-off during the first round. But few weeks ago, Lula seemed to have taken a commending lead in the polls.     

 Both the Ibope and the Datafolha polling institutes showed the self-styled champion of the poor with 61 percent support among voters, against 39 percent for Geraldo Alckmin, a centrist former Sao Paulo governor favored by the business and investor communities.Other polls in recent days gave similar figures, indicating that Lula experienced a strong rebound after being hurt by claims of campaign wrongdoing that emerged ahead of the October 1 first round of voting.The incumbent president enjoys strong support among impoverished Brazilians, thanks to a social program that hands out cash subsidies to more than 11 million needy families.Lula, 61, is also buoyed by a healthy economy marked by comparatively low inflation rates, record exports and foreign currency reserves twice what they were when he took office in 2002.Once a firebrand trade union leader, Lula has moved his Workers Party (PT) closer to the political center and maintained orthodox economic policies over the past four years.Alckmin, 53, has not proposed any major move away from current policies, but has insisted on the need to bring down interest rates and taxes whose high levels he says strangle economic growth, which was at a disappointing 2.3 percent last year.But Lula claims Brazilians are far better off today than they ever were, and that all conditions are set for economic growth to speed up.In his final campaign act on the eve of the voting, the bearded president rallied his forces in the industrial town where he once was a metal worker.Smiling, waving and hugging supporters, Lula expressed confidence Brazilians would pay no heed to attacks by his rival’s campaign.”The Brazilian people are saying loudly and clearly: … ‘I won’t believe the lies that are being spread,'” Lula told journalists during his 45-minute walk through Sao Bernardo do Campo on the outskirts of Sao Paulo.”Once he wins, I will walk up these steps on my knees,” said Rita Santos, 65, pointing to the entrance of a nearby church and then kissing her crucifix.”The only candidate who has helped the poor is Lula,” said Santos, clad in the trademark red T-shirt of Lula supporters and sporting a straw hat of the type favored by farmers in Brazil’s dirt-poor northeast.Many impoverished Brazilians identify with the humble background of Lula, a onetime shoeshine boy with little formal education.Alckmin spent the eve of the election pressing the flesh in the streets of Rio de Janeiro, where he chatted with shopkeepers and thanked supporters.A trained anesthesiologist whose low-key personality contrasts with Lula’s charisma, Alckmin has presented himself as an honest alternative to a scandal-tainted government.”The people are outraged with what has been going on for years and continues going on. The money that goes to corruption is the money that is lacking for schools, hospitals and sanitation.”Almost 126 million Brazilians were called to cast their ballots in the presidential election Sunday, when a second round of voting in 10 of the 27 gubernatorial elections.The next government will be hampered by a fractured parliament. The PT will have 83 deputies in the 513-seat lower House and 11 mandates in the 81-strong senate. Alckmin’s Party of the Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB) will have 66 deputies and 14 senators, with the remaining seats going to other parties.

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