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Brazilian Presidential elections of 2006

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Since the year 2000, the South Americans have been experiencing diverse electoral success. Among the large countries of the continent, only Colombia, headed by Alvaro Uribe, seemed to escape this wave. This fact was backed by powerful people such as Hugo Chavez, the powerful and populist orator in Venezuela; Michelle Bachelet, the new president of Chile, and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, head of the reforming State of Brazil.

But this diversity is also political: there is no possible comparison with regard to social-liberalism in the progress of Chile to Argentina or the economic nationalism as recommended by the presidents of Venezuela or Bolivia. The trajectory of Lula is interesting in more than one way. It shows how an engaged politician can moderate himself in his capacity. It is an example of the various management styles of the South American left parties. This also makes it possible to make an inventory of the successes and failures of this Left leaning tendency.

Until the very recent presidential elections in Brazil, we will see how the outgoing president had put forward an assessment in contrast to gain a second mandate, while glossing over the most underprivileged part of the inhabitants of its country. Elected in October 2002, Lula proclaimed in his inaugural speech on 1 January 2003 "Change is our motto. The mind has conquered fear; our country decided it was time to take a new direction." This "new way" was not persistent with respect to the concerns in the upper layers of Brazilian society and in business circles.

Lula's opponent, Social Democrat Jose Serra, had already revived the criticism made against the Workers Party in previous elections of 1992 and 1998: irresponsible and spendthrift, incompetence, if unfortunately rose to power to govern Brazil. The new government, formed with the support of two Brazilian Communist parties, the Greens and the Liberal Party, however, will manage Brazil while putting in place the urgent reforms.

The first program to be implemented is the "Zero Hunger" campaign. Immediately to help 11 million poor Brazilians, the government took a series of key measures: provision of 15 euros on a regular basis to needy families, enrollment plans and vaccination of children, consolidation of welfare agencies in the "Bolsa Familia" (family grant). In addition, benefits have increased: in December 2005, the minimum wage was increased by 15%.

Tags: South Americans, Michelle Bachelet, economic nationalism, Brazilian society, Workers Party, Brazilian Communist parties

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