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In Brazil's Northeast, Ex-President Lula Is Known for 'Stealing, but Getting Things Done'

09/19/2017 - 10h47

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FERNANDO CANZIAN
SPECIAL ENVOY TO THE NORTHEAST

Among northeastern electors who have participated in all of the elections that Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT Party) has run in, 53% of them have voted for him in all of them. The national average is 38%, according to a Datafolha survey.

In the runoff election of 2014, Dilma Rousseff (PT party) defeated Aécio Neves (PSDB party) in nine northeastern states, with seven out of ten electors (71.7%) voting for her candidacy (the national average was 51.6%).

With this political preference as a backdrop, Lula, 71, set out on a pre-electoral campaign into the region at the end of August, reaching out to the poorer electorate who cheered him on spontaneously along the highways or at pre-organized rallies.

During the Lula years and part of Rousseff's government, the northeast was the region of the country with the strongest growth, pulled along by social programs, real increases (beyond inflation) in the minimum salary, and the creation of formal jobs.

Today, it is the part that is experiencing the slowest recovery, also due to the frustration of major investments, like the Suape port and the Abreu e Lima refinery in the State of Pernambuco, a major target of corruption at Petrobras.

POVERTY AND ADORATION

Nearly seven years after leaving the Presidency, Lula is still identified with this improvement in the Northeast.

Even though he is still adored due to these programs and others like Prouni and Luz para Todos (Electricity for Everyone), the PT party leader's brilliant light connected more to the past than with the present, which is marked by an association with corruption.

Many of his electoral supporters say that they have doubts when confronted with "Lula's problems". Even so, they promise to vote for him again if he manages to be a candidate.

Translated by LLOYD HARDER

Read the article in the original language

Bruno Santos/ Folhapress
Former president Lula da Silva is greeted by supporters in Ouricuri, Pernambuco
Former president Lula da Silva is greeted by supporters in Ouricuri, Pernambuco

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