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Brazil's president sees tough second term

Brazil's president sees tough second term

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took credit Saturday for stabilizing Brazil's economy and helping the poor during his first four years in office, but acknowledged he has much more to do during his second term starting Monday.
"Obviously, we know we have a lot more to do," Silva told reporters while visiting a photo exhibit focusing on his fall presidential re-election campaign.
No world leaders have been invited to Monday's inauguration in Brazil's capital. Instead, Silva decided it would be a party for supporters ranging from union members to anti-poverty groups.
Between 40,000 and 50,000 people are expected to attend. After taking the presidential oath in Brazil's Congress and speaking to lawmakers, Silva will address the crowd and the nation on his plans for the country from a white marble terrace just outside the presidential palace.
He gave no specifics Saturday, but said "the second term, I would say, is a much stronger and demanding commitment than the first. And we are committed to doing more, and doing it better."
Silva, a former labor leader and Brazil's first working-class president, was re-elected in a landslide on Oct. 29 but faces heavy pressure to boost the nation's economy, which has grown slowly and steadily but lagged the rest of Latin America.
And while Silva helped Brazil's poor by expanding social programs that give families food money to keep their children in school, Brazil still has one of the worst divides between rich and poor on the planet.
Silva won kudos from business leaders and foreign governments by adopting conservative economic policy that has brought inflation down to less than 4 percent, but critics say high interest rates crimped economic growth.
The president is vowing to enact new economic policies that will boost annual economic growth to more than five percent, following a disappointing showing of 2.3 percent last year and predicted growth of 2.8 percent for 2006.
Increasing the growth rate would allow companies to expand and hire more workers, a key issue in the nation of 187 million where many work in the informal sector.
Still, Silva insisted that in his first term, "things have worked, and people are able to live a little better."
A poll released earlier this month showed Silva has the highest popularity ever of recent Brazilian presidents.
"Few presidents have had the happiness and joy to end a term in such a good situation like we have in this first term, from a political point of view, from an economic point of view and from a social point of view", Silva said.
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Associated Press Writer Thomas Milz contributed to this story from Sao Paulo, Brazil.


Updated : 2020-12-05 02:26 GMT+08:00