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Last Updated: Friday, 12 August 2005, 17:42 GMT 18:42 UK
Key excerpts: Lula's speech
Brazil's President Lula
Lula's popularity has declined sharply in recent days
Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has asked for forgiveness from the Brazilian people for a scandal that has engulfed his government.

He apologised in a televised address to the nation.

Here are some excerpts:

I want to tell the Brazilian people that I'm not ashamed to say that we have to seek forgiveness. The Workers' Party has to seek forgiveness. When the government makes mistakes, it has to seek forgiveness because the people, who have faith in the country, cannot for one moment be satisfied with the situation we're living through.

I want to tell you not to lose hope. I know you're angry and I'm certainly just as angry as any Brazilian, if not more so. I know I can count on the Brazilian people.

I feel betrayed by unacceptable practices of which I knew nothing. I feel angry at the revelations which are coming out every day and which are shocking the population. I haven't changed and I'm certain that the same anger I feel is shared by the population.

If it were in my power, I would already have identified those responsible. I decided from the outset that no-one would be spared.

The country is changing for the better. This country must not be stopped and I'm sure that's what Brazilian society wants.

What gives me the most pride, because of my background and because of the commitment I have to the people of my country, is renewed growth in employment, with 104,000 new jobs created every month.

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