By Benjamin Parkin, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Former president Lula, of the governing PT (Workers’ Party), released a video in which he backs the PT’s campaign for political reform. Launched last Saturday at the party’s national conference in the lead up to October’s elections, the campaign aims to emphasise reform as a key foundation of President Dilma Rousseff’s platform for re-election.
“Political reform is increasingly necessary and urgent,” explained Lula in the video. “It is a clamour that is born on the streets, coming from society. It is a general demand, but comes primarily from those who fight injustice and inequality.”
“For Brazil to continue changing, it is necessary to guarantee the legitimacy of institutions and end with the interference of economic power in elections,” he continued. At the party conference on Saturday, national president of the PT, Rui Falcão, highlighted that private funding of political campaigns will be the cornerstone of their proposed reforms.
The elections come after a problematic year for the PT, with controversy surrounding corruption and use of public money in the preparations for the World Cup resulting in mass protests, of which a key demand was fundamental reforms of the political system.
When Lula left office in 2010, his popularity ratings were at an all-time high, with 87 percent of the population declaring their approval. However, his successor Dilma’s term has been less successful, with recent polls showing approval ratings as low as 34 percent.
This would not be enough even to guarantee a second round in the upcoming elections, with the PT’s main political rivals, the PSDB (Brazilian Social Democratic Party) of Aécio Neves and the PSB (Brazilian Socialist Party) of Eduardo Campos and Marina Silva, going ahead.
Lula emphasized the democratization of Brazil’s political system under the twelve years of PT government. “This new Brazil is the fruit of the rise in consciousness of the majority, above all the workers and the excluded.”
“Democracy and popular participation are the sources of this transforming energy, and the more vigorous they will be, the more we will advance,” he explained. “This is why political reform is so important.”
Watch the video (in Portuguese).
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