Tuesday, 6 January 2009

The Moment of Truth

Recent polls have shown record approval ratings for President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Last year, the economic expansion rendered outstanding numbers (at least until before the global crisis unfolded) and formal jobs and real income grew. Investment poured into Brazil in a size that was unheard of in ... five decades? Paradise!!! But now the tide is turning and Brazil, as we said this morning and a number of times in the past two weeks, is heading for a recession.

O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper is trying to check voters' preferences now that the dream is over for Lula (he won't finish his second term presiding over a booming economy.) You dear reader who live in Brazil, should take a few seconds, click on
this link and vote yes/no. You will for sure stumble across a surprising result.


  1. I was surprised at the result, but not perhaps in the way you expected. I was suprised that so many people who read the Estadão still approve of the Lula government. Hard to imagine many people who lined the streets in Recife or Forteleza a few months back when I visited took time to cast a ballot on the site of the country's most reliably "conservative" major newspaper, and São Paulo, or at least much of it, has already left the PT reservation, rejecting Lula's candidates for São Paulo mayor and for governor.

    Still, Lula faces some pretty hard times. The commodities boom has stalled. His notoriously slow decision-making process will only get slower as there is less money to go around and an overreliance on state-controlled companies (read Petrobras) is going to make itself felt as that company faces tighter times.

    But Lula may not want to win the next election. A very smart man I know thinks his flirtation with Dilma Rousseff is a ruse. He knows she won't and can't win and that he can't come back in 2014 if she does. The man who picks his successor has to retire, and Lula, and his party, don't want him to retire. A strategic retreat (this guy did sit in the wilderness for more than a decade before winning election), might be just what the PT/PMDB mafia want. Leave the clean-up to the Dems and the PSDB and sweep back on memories of the good old days.

    But I ramble...

  2. Agreed with Grouch above. It's like asking Boca Juniors fans to choose between Pele and Maradona.