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Monday, 4 November, 2002, 08:45 GMT
Brazil's new government: Will it make a difference?
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the new leftist president-elect of Brazil, has said that the country will respect financial markets and prioritise the fight against hunger.

Mr Lula - who received 61% of the vote in the recent elections - pledged fiscal austerity and sustainable growth.

However, he also addressed the country's poor, saying his priority is to combat hunger and unemployment.

When Mr Lula is inaugurated on 1 January, he will take over Latin America's largest economy, which is burdened by debt and suffering a deep economic crisis.

He has also called on the IMF and other international lenders to help Brazil through its crisis and to extend credit lines to Brazilian businesses.

Will Brazil's president-elect, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's government be able to please the financial markets yet also combat poverty in the country? Can Brazil's new government make a difference?

This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments.

Give the man a chance! Heaven knows that the centre-right and centre-left have had plenty of opportunities to alleviate Brazil's problems over the past decade, with precious little success (apart, partially, from the Plano Real). Forget largely outmoded stereotypes about corruption and military dictatorship. With 60% popular backing, Lula deserves this opportunity: let us all wish him well.
Robin, UK

Lula offers no alternative to the corrupt system that has led to the current situation.

Euphen Runswick, USA
Despite what many people in Brazil believe, Lula offers no alternative to the corrupt system that has led to the current situation. The only solution to Brazil's problems is an independent working class movement opposed to the interests of capital, whether it is represented by the traditional bourgeois parties or privileged union bureaucrats like Lula.
Euphen Runswick, USA

We all know that Lula alone cannot do miracles, but we hope that he can speak about social and simple issues like hunger, for example. Thats why markets are nervous. Money don't have heart, but this man will say that we are simply human beings sometimes with hunger.
maria de fátima borges, Brazil

Brazil has this strange notion that, when we vote, we are choosing a king not a president. In fact, when Luiz Ignácio da Silva met President Fernando Henrique Cardoso a couple of days ago in Brasilia, you could read in many signs: "Welcome to your palace my king!" Our people have not a formal education. They don¿t know the function of a President, of a Governor, what is the job of a Senator. Our people just vote hoping for a miracle. A country that has been explored for hundreds of years has to choose many good, honest, efficient and well-meaning Presidents in order to reach a better and brighter future. Fernando Henrique Cardoso is a good, honest, efficient and well-meaning President. Lula has to be all this and, I'm afraid, a lot more.
Cardoso, Brazil

Lula has a very arrogant and stubborn attitude

J, Brazil
Lula has the limitations of his party's ideology plus a very arrogant and stubborn attitude. Although I may wish him success for the country's sake, I'm afraid he has consciously sold an unreachable dream to my countryman. Lula will make a difference, in the wrong direction.
J, Brazil

Lula has already made a difference by winning the election. For the first time Brazil has a president who is not a member of the elite society that has run the country since democracy was restored. Many Brazilian people now feel that democracy has really arrived and that their voices can now be heard. Whatever successes or failures follow are in many ways irrelevant compared to the fundamental change that took place on Sunday.
Tony Burns, Brazil

He doesn't stand a chance. America, a geographically close 'friend' will, as in the past, sabotage the system in Brazil. Nothing, and I mean nothing, can allow another system apart from American capitalism to be successful. Look at the past and remember Guataemala 1953-1990, Equador in the 1960s, Chile, Bolivia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Haiti, El Salvador, Peru, Mexico, Columbia, and the overthrow of President Joao Goulart, leader of Brazil, who was disposed in a 1964 CIA backed military coup. History will repeat itself.
Jose, Brazil

Brazil is finally on the path to true democracy

David Ferrell, Brazil
The most important thing in the outcome of Lula's victory is that he won't stand for maintaining the status quo that Brazil's oligarchy has kept in place for hundreds of years and he has a mandate to end it. Brazil is finally on the path to true democracy, a government for the people, by the people and to the people, to paraphrase Abe Lincoln. Good Luck to Lula!
David Ferrell, Brazil

In order to eliminate poverty one has to first create wealth. In order to eliminate unemployment one has to attract foreign investment (with stable currency, low inflation and low interest rates). I am afraid that Lula is yet another Allende: full of lofty ideas and good intention but ignorant of economic mechanisms. Look at Lech Wa³êsa. He was a great labour union leader but as president of Poland he was an unmitigated disaster.
Mirek Kondracki

I hope Brazil made the right choice

I will neither support him nor will I dismiss him until I see for myself how successful his agenda is. I hope Brazil made the right choice.

We have finally chosen the right president, he definitely represents the 60% of the people that live in terrible poverty in Brazil. This time Brazil won't be represented by the "elite" and I believe Lula will fight for Brazil's ideals. He will not bow down to please any other country, we've been doing this for a long time and it's time to stand up and show the world what we got.
Davi Henrique, Brazil, Sao Paulo

In order to eliminate poverty and unemployment one has to first create wealth and bring in foreign investment. I am afraid that Lula is just another Allende: full of great ideas and good will, but poor understanding of economic mechanism.
Meerkat, USA

For the first time in history we feel we can do it

Ary Braga Pacheco Filho, Brazil
For the first time in history we feel we can do it. There is nothing to fear because Brazil is a great country with fantastic and strong working people. Lula is going to make this rich country become really rich and will bring back a thing we have lost: self-confidence! We have got to believe in ourselves, because we can do it!
Ary Braga Pacheco Filho, Brazil

We hope that those who have been the backseat drivers of the Brazilian Govt. will let this man make a serious attempt to bring human dignity to the Brazilians, even though their profits on "investments" in Brazil may be reduced!
Kurian, Brazil

Lula promises to prioritise the fight against hunger by respecting financial markets, which is great. But we should wait and see if this is a real idea or just some promise to win the election.
Yanna Livia, Brazil

It's our turn to have a man that has a pure heart

Patricia Sena, Brazil
In South Africa they had Nelson Mandela, now it's our turn to have a man that has a pure heart. He was a metalworker and now he is our President! As John Lennon said "A working class hero is something to be"
Patricia Sena, Brazil

While I truly wish the people of Brazil well, the sad history of South America shows that if he's an honest man and attempts any true reform he'll either be kicked out by the people of Brazil when he can't magically transform the economy in 6 months, or by the military when he tries to curb its power. If he isn't an honest man, it'll be business as usual. Luckily, South American politicians always have the evil IMF and World Bank to blame for all their failures.
Cheryl, USA

Gook luck Lula! Let's wish him well, because a stronger Brazil will cause an stronger South America, and better living condition to many people that have already gone through so much. Boa sorte Brazil!!!
Adriana Kuehnel, US

For the first time, I'm hopeful about Brazil's future. Lula's election represents the Brazilian people's need for change and it represents the Brazilian people's faith and strength.
Bruno Simon, Brazil

I hope he can change Brazil for the better

Stefan, Canada
It made me smile to see Lula win so clearly. I hope he can change Brazil for the better and bring some social value to the old order.
Stefan, Canada

Let's hope that Lula can show the world that running a clean operation will work! I only hope the United States government doesn't screw it up to show that "It cannot work!" Many citizens in my country are starting to wake up to what a bunch of bullies our government and corporations are, and are realizing that we are not really a "democracy." If Lula succeeds Brazil will be a model for us all. Corrupt or "legally corrupt" (as in the USA), regimes must be changed or exposed.
Sean , USA

Very simply, Lula is a shining light that is showing every Brazilian that they can do it! My prayers are that the Brazilian people will continue to give Lula the support and that together they will build a new Brazil - one that embraces the whole population. Good luck!
Delva Niedrum, England

As a Brazilian citizen, I couldn't feel more proud of our democratic power to change the nation's hitory. Now more than ever the government will have eyes for the poor.
Ranieri Portilho, San Francisco CA United States

One thing that Brazilians are feeling is hope

Ricardo Maringá, Brazil
One thing that Brazilians are feeling is hope. It's the first time a democratic State has shown to the world a reflection of a nation who is tired of being poor.
Ricardo Maringá, Brazil

Lula secured one of the largest votes ever recorded in the democratic world. Therefore, the world should listen to what he and millions of Brazilians are trying to say: that the orthodox economic policies advocated by the IMF are not working. We can't keep dismissing Latin America as a society with a predilection for communist dictators whenever they elect a left-winger. Trust Lula and trust the Brazilian people.
Daniel Brett, Cambridge, UK

I am abroad for two long years and in spite of being far, it is the first time that I feel my people did not choose a president with individual thinking, but collective thinking. Now we must support Lula and finally give some dignity to our population.
Solange Barros de Alcantara, Sweden

Lula's success gives a hope to everybody who wants to see a more equitable, democratic, peaceful world. I believe that he will succeed if he can withstand the pressure from the IMF, World Bank and the US. I wish him luck and success.
Y. Tateishi, USA

Brazil's situation is sure to deteriorate further

Mark, USA
There is great hope and expectation for a change for the better. Regrettably, Lula has little if any chance for fulfilling those hopes and when reality comes crashing in, he will reveal himself as either a do nothing hack or a dictator. Either way, Brazil's situation is sure to deteriorate further.
Mark, USA

I think people outside Brazil can't exactly say that "Lula is this", "Lula is that", because they are completely ignorant of "Brazilian stereotypes". The only thing I can tell you, being a Brazilian citizen, is that Brazilian people chose him because they want to see change. That's democracy! We are proud of our solid democracy that makes a popular leader come to power thanks to our votes. Thank you, and all the good wishes to our new president.
Claudio Diniz, Brazil

Brazil should be a rich country. It has great mineral and agricultural reserves. What it has lacked is responsible non-corrupt governments at all levels. Lula can make a massive difference just by being honest and presiding over an honest government. As someone who has recently spent two glorious years living in his wonderful country I wish him all the very best.
David Baker, Grenada

Let's wish him good luck and that he could be successful in this difficult task.
Andre Richetti, Brazil

Good luck to him. I hope he succeeds

Rachel, UK
Lula da Silva and Chavez are both right to speak out against the restrictive conditions imposed by the IMF in return for what our friend from San Jose calls "bail-outs". The IMF demands that countries trade themselves out of debt while its rules are set up in such a way that makes this impossible. Additionally it inevitably demands harsh public spending cuts which of course hit the poorest people the hardest. Naturally, wealthier nations and businessmen are opposed to the likes of Lula because he seeks to end this shameless exploitation-disguised-as-aid. Good luck to him. I hope he succeeds.
Rachel, UK

It would be difficult for anyone to solve the problems, quite possibly even harder for Lula than for a right winger. But when you have someone in there, who at a fundamental level, cares about the poor, and sees the world in a way that is concerned with people as well as economics, the whole situation is different. Whether he succeeds or fails, there is something important and worthwhile going on at a deep level, and trying is important even if you fail as it rubs off on people. Let's hope he has the strength and ability to succeed.
Jonathan Kerr, UK

This man has incredible potential

Bryan Wokich, USA
Brazil has entered a new era. Lula will be trying to set up a completely different monetary system focused on workers; after all, he is a Union man. If he succeeds, he may lead a Latin-American economic reorganization. We don't know anything for sure, but this man has incredible potential.
Bryan Wokich, USA

Oh it'll make a difference all right, just like how Hugo Chavez "made a difference" in Venezuela. Lula is a repackaged hard line socialist, his PR was smooth but terribly superficial during the election. Now he has to deliver beyond simple rhetoric, something he won't be able to do because of his hard left philosophical loyalties. Get ready for anti-business policies and taxation, greater inflation, currency devaluation, rising unemployment, followed by the predictable plea for a "stabilizing" multi-billion dollar bailout by the IMF or directly from the USA, if not both.
S. Kenney, San Jose, Ca, USA

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