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Wednesday, 9 October, 2002, 18:58 GMT 19:58 UK
Brazil's losing candidates back Lula
Demonstrators with Lula placards
This is Lula's fourth attempt to win the presidency
The frontrunner for the second round of voting in Brazil's presidential race, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has secured the support of two of the losing first-round candidates.

Antonio Garotinho, who won 18% of the vote, has said he and his Democratic Labour Party will support Lula "unconditionally" in the runoff scheduled for 27 October.

First round results
Lula: 46.4%
Jose Serra: 23.2%
Anthony Garotinho: 17.9%
Ciro Gomes: 12%
Ciro Gomes, leader of the centre-left People's Socialist Party, who came fourth in the first round of the elections, has also said he will back Mr da Silva.

Mr da Silva narrowly failed to win a majority of votes in last Sunday's poll, and now faces Jose Serra, who represents the governing coalition.

Mr Gomes said Mr da Silva represented the best hope for all Brazilians.

"We put ourselves as a party organically at the disposition of Lula's candidacy, who will tell us what role he wants us to play in the campaign," Mr Gomes said.

Crucial backer

Government-backed candidate Jose Serra
Serra is backed by President Cardoso

So far, Mr Serra has won only lukewarm support from the centre-right Liberal Front Party (PFL).

Although its leaders agreed on Wednesday to back Mr Serra, they allowed local party bosses to choose who they supported.

Mr Serra trailed Lula by more than 20 percentage points in the first round of voting, and faces an uphill struggle to redress the situation.

The result of the presidential election is seen as crucial, as it is widely believed that it could dramatically change the political direction of Latin America's biggest country and have repercussions far beyond the region.

If Mr da Silva is victorious, he would become Brazil's first elected leftist leader.

Brazil has seen its currency plunge amid investors' worries over Mr da Silva's ability to run the economy, and concern has grown that the country might default on its $260bn debt.


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07 Oct 02 | Americas
07 Oct 02 | Americas
07 Oct 02 | Media reports
03 Oct 02 | Business
27 Sep 02 | Business
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