Brazil Politics: Life After Lula

Mar 5, 2009

Markets almost collapsed during the 2002 election, when Lula first took power. Less volatility is expected in 2010, and José Serra leads the polls.

by John Rumsey Regardless of how well Lula negotiates this year’s sharp downturn, the next Brazilian president faces significant challenges. José Serra, governor of São Paulo state and senior member of the opposition PSDB, is a frontrunner to win 2010 elections. The tough negotiator and competent economic steward has the hallmarks of a fiscal hawk. But his credentials as a centre-left pragmatist are likely to disappoint those seeking deep reform.With the exception of president Lula, Serra is probably the most experienced politician in the country, says Timothy Power, a lecturer in Brazilian studies at Oxford University. By the start of the military dictatorship in 1964, he had already been president of the National Union of Students. As an enemy of the military dictatorship he was exiled, thus sharing a history with his main competitor for the presidency, Dilma Rousseff, Lula’s chief of staff and front-runner in the Workers’ Party (PT)...

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