Lula promises to avoid Dilma’s mistakes and deliver ‘stable’ Brazil

Lula promises to avoid Dilma’s mistakes and deliver ‘stable’ Brazil

(Bloomberg) — Brazil’s presidential favorite Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has vowed to lead a stable economy and avoid the mistakes of his successor, Dilma Rousseff, if elected.

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In a 40-minute prime-time interview on the country’s most watched news, Lula said he will govern with predictability, stability and credibility in comments that sought to reassure undecided voters and voters who have doubts about a third term for the leftist.

“I want to go back to make a better government than I did,” Lula, who ruled Brazil from 2003 to late 2010, said on Thursday.

Lula, 76, said his governments had reduced inflation, built up international reserves and reduced debt levels and that he would do the same again if elected, building confidence at home and abroad. He highlighted the choice of Geraldo Alckmin, a former market-friendly enemy, as his running mate in an example of political consensus.

He also said he is working on a major infrastructure investment plan.

Lula’s campaign is looking to broaden its appeal, including among the middle class, as current President Jair Bolsonaro ends his electoral advantage with about five weeks until the first round of voting.

The former union leader’s calls for a stronger social safety net and environmental protection have dovetailed with the rise of leftist leaders in neighboring countries such as Colombia and Chile. Still, the current administration is making every effort, including an $8 billion economic package, as part of an effort to mitigate the impact of inflation while improving its chances of staying in power.

“Lula’s challenge is to maintain his position,” said Marcia Cavallari, director-president of the Ipec research institute, this Wednesday, at an event organized by Bloomberg News in São Paulo. “He can’t make any mistakes.”

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The leftist candidate positioned himself as the candidate best able to revive the economy.

During the interview, Lula dealt a rare blow to Dilma, a former minister he helped elect as his successor and who was impeached in 2016, saying the tax breaks and gasoline subsidies granted under her government were a mistake.

Lula appeared on the show even after he previously blamed the media, especially TV Globo and Jornal Nacional, which aired Thursday’s interview, for the damage to his reputation.

Lula’s lead has dropped to 15 percentage points from 18 previously, according to a DataFolha poll published Aug. 18. to 12,000 reais per month.

Bolsonaro has supported expanded cash payments to the poor, as well as tax cuts on goods from gasoline to utilities, as part of a last-minute effort to improve his popularity. Consumer prices posted the biggest mid-month drop on record in August, providing relief to millions in the region’s largest economy.

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