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Monday, 28 October, 2002, 19:32 GMT
Brazil's Lula seeks to reassure markets
Lula supporters celebrate in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
Tens of thousands celebrated Lula's victory
In his first formal speech as Brazil's president-elect, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has sought to reassure the business markets that he will respect the country's financial commitments.

Lula celebrates victory
Lula announced the creation of a poverty secretariat
Speaking a day after his convincing victory in the presidential run-off, the left-wing politician best known as Lula pledged fiscal austerity and sustainable growth.

Lula - who received 61% of the vote - also addressed the country's poor, saying his priority was to combat hunger and unemployment.

When he is inaugurated on 1 January, Lula will officially become Brazil's first left-wing president in more than 40 years.

He is due to take over Latin America's largest economy, which is burdened by debt and suffering a deep economic crisis.

Credit plea

Brazil, he said on Monday, would "do its bit to confront the crisis" in the region.


The changes that we all hope for will come without surprises and without shocks

Lula
He insisted he would not default on Brazil's $260bn debt.

"Our government will respect contracts established by the [current] government, will not lose control of inflation and will maintain... a position of fiscal responsibility."

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

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Click here to see what voters are saying

Correspondents say the markets are now keenly waiting for Lula to announce the members of his transitional team on Tuesday.

It is believed the 55-strong team will include financial specialists from outside Lula's Workers Party (PT).

Three meals a day

"The changes that we all hope for will come without surprises and without shocks," he said.


The Brazilian people know that all that was not done in 10 years cannot be solved with a stroke of magic

Lula
In a country where 60% of the population live on or near the poverty line, correspondents say many people voted for Lula in the hope of a better life.

And the former trade union leader sought to reassure his supporters that he was committed to social reform.

Lula said his first priorities would be to combat hunger and create jobs, changing what he described as an unjust system which excludes large portions of society.

Announcing the creation of a poverty secretariat, the newly-elected president said he would have fulfilled his mission in life if, by the end of his term, each Brazilian would be able to have at least three proper meals a day.

He warned, however, that the country's economic and social problems would not be solved overnight.

Lula, a former factory worker from an poor background, became a trade unionist and strike leader and a symbol of opposition to the military dictatorship in the 1970s and early 1980s.

He founded the PT in 1980, but in recent years has moved to the political centre and dropped the anti-capitalist rhetoric which marked his three previous presidential bids.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Tom Gibb
"He'll continue the current economic austerity"
Brazilian Ambassador to London Celso Amorim
"The fact that someone like Lula was able to make it has enormous psychological importance for Brazil"
Brazilian businessman, Roberto Faldini
"He (Lula) will need to face reality"

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See also:

28 Oct 02 | Business
26 Oct 02 | Media reports
24 Oct 02 | Business
29 Oct 02 | Media reports
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