Brasil: popular Lula tries to pass mantle to Dilma Roussef

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Brasil: popular Lula tries to pass mantle to Dilma Roussef


hugely popular Lula limited to 2 terms,

and so hopes to push through successor Dilma in 1st round today:

a close call



voting all day Sunday:


.... yields runoff:


After two four-year terms, Mr. da Silva is barred by Brazil's Constitution from running for a third consecutive term - although he could run again in four years.

If elected, Ms. Rousseff will join a wave of elected female leaders breaking the gender barrier in the past five years, including Michelle Bachelet of Chile, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina and Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel.

Ms. Rousseff, who was active in armed militant organizations fighting the dictatorship in the 1960s, is considered a competent administrator but is lacking in the kind of seductive charisma that helped make Mr. da Silva so popular. A former union leader with a fourth-grade education, Mr. da Silva's dirt-poor background resonated with many Brazilians, especially in the northeast and among an emerging lower-middle class he helped create.

Some analysts and foreign investors have expressed concern that Ms. Rousseff's leftist background could cause her to steer the country left and give the state more control over the economy.

The daughter of a Brazilian mother and a Bulgarian immigrant father, Ms. Rousseff grew up middle class in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte.

In an interview last year, Ms. Rousseff denied having participated in an armed action against the government, including the most celebrated incident tied to her, a 1969 armed robbery of the safe of São Paulo's governor.

She was captured and imprisoned in 1970 for crimes of "opinion and organization." She ended up spending three years behind bars; she said that she was tortured repeatedly with electro-shocks and that her head was forcibly dunked under water.


Wilf Day

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