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EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 1 January, 2003, 16:05 GMT
Brazil press reflects hopes and fears
Brazilian man waits for Lula's inauguration
Ordinary Brazilians fervently await Lula's presidency

As huge crowds gathered in Brasilia for the inauguration of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a poll for the leading Folha De Sao Paulo newspaper reflected people's high hopes.

Nearly 80% of Brazilians expect the new government to be "excellent or good" and just 3% say it will be "bad".

So the Lula government today begins to walk on a knife edge

Folha De Sao Paulo

In its editorial, the paper says Lula's challenge will be to balance these hopes with fears about Brazil's precarious financial situation.

"Very rarely has a president taken up office with such a high level of expectations at one extreme, and fears at the other", it says.

The crucial problem for the new government "will be to handle the fears and hopes at the same time, without surrendering too much to the markets, without upsetting the voter too much, but also without venturing into excessively unorthodox economic measures or into attending in a populist manner the demands of the street."

"So the Lula government today begins to walk on a knife edge", Folha De Sao Paulo concludes.

Winning trust

The influential O Estado De Sao Paulo describes the transition period since Lula won the 27 October elections as "what must be the most extraordinary 66 days in the history of the Republic".

Lula and the leadership of the Workers' Party (PT) are winning the trust of those who doubted they would have the difficult courage to change

O Estado De Sao Paulo

"What has happened in these 66 days is the building of a convergence between Lula and society - something that was not guaranteed by the election result."

The paper notes "the support the winner now enjoys - particularly from those who not only didn't vote for him, but who had valid reasons to reject him."

It praises the "rigorously rational actions and words" of the president-elect and his team as justifying this overwhelming endorsement from the public and what it calls the Brazilian "national elites".

"Lula and the leadership of the Workers' Party (PT), showing a never previously seen capacity to see things as they are and not as they would like them to be... are winning the trust of those who doubted they would have the courage to change", according to the paper.

Back to earth

Rio de Janeiro's O Globo meanwhile warns that the "mountain of hopes" raised by Lula's campaign "are at the same time an encouragement and a threat".

"Those who voted for Lula to sort out their job and salary problems immediately will be frustrated - in the same way that they would have been frustrated if they had supported the opposing candidate with the same expectations and he had won".

Today's date is wrapped in hopes and expectations - it could become one of Brazilians' best memories

O Globo

In the paper's view, there has been a "bringing-down-to-earth campaign" during the transition period "in order to begin to dispel the unrealistic dreams of some of the electorate, the politicians and the president's followers".

"Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his ministers wake up today holding the reins of a complex country that is still unequal but that does not need saviours, providential men or charismatic leaders", it writes.

"Populism and caudillism, of the right and left, have left their tragic marks on Latin America and had the roots removed in Brazil during the consolidation of the democratization process".

"One of the challenges for Lula's government is to understand that this is not a country that needs to be built from scratch", it stresses.

Rather there are "conquests" from outgoing President Cardoso's government to be preserved and improved - such as laws requiring responsible spending by state and city governments and progressive social policies.

But O Globo concludes on a positive note, saying that "today's date is wrapped in hopes and expectations - it could become one of Brazilians' best memories".

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

01 Jan 03 | Americas
31 Dec 02 | Country profiles
19 Dec 02 | Business
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