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Page last updated at 22:44 GMT, Wednesday, 20 May 2009 23:44 UK

Lula 'won't run for third term'

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva during a visit to China on Monday
Lula says he has no desire to run again

The Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has ruled out the possibility of standing for a third term in office at next year's election.

President Lula told the BBC he had not even thought about running in 2010 as the Brazilian constitution only allows presidents to seek re-election once.

He said he was certain the likely candidate for his Workers' Party, Dilma Rousseff, would be well enough to run.

Ms Rousseff had surgery last month for the removal of a malignant tumour.

Under the Brazilian constitution, a president can only hold office for two consecutive terms, and Lula said he had not considered running in 2010.

"I haven't discussed this possibility. Primarily because there is no third term. Secondly because Dilma is fine."

Ms Rousseff was discharged from hospital on Tuesday after being admitted on Monday with leg pains related to her treatment. She told reporters it was not serious and she was "back in shape".

'Plan B'

Brazil"s Chief of Staff Dilma Rousseff leaves hospital on Tuesday
Ms Rousseff played down her trip to hospital

Lula said he was confident Ms Rousseff - currently the president's chief of staff - would return to good health.

The possibility that Lula could attempt to run for a third term has been privately referred by some allied to the government as "Plan B", should Ms Rousseff's health problems put a stop to her candidacy.

Some of his supporters have also urged him to consider running again.

In order for Lula to run an amendment to the constitution would be necessary. But the president has repeatedly rebuffed the idea of such a move as well as his own desire to stand again, say correspondents.



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