By Stephen Eisenhammer, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Despite President Dilma Rousseff’s record-breaking approval rating of 64 percent after fifteen months in office, polls indicate her predecessor Lula da Silva remains the Brazilian people’s preferred Worker’s Party (PT) candidate for the 2014 presidential elections.

Lula and Dilma are Brazil's two most popular ever Presidents, BRazil News
Lula and Dilma are Brazil's two most popular ever Presidents, photo by Roberto Stuckert Filho/Presidência da República.

The survey, carried out by the Brazilian daily newspaper Folha de São Paulo, found that 64 percent of Brazilians rated Rousseff’s presidential performance as either excellent or good, an increase of five percent on January.

This is the highest rating a Brazilian president has ever had at this period in office. At this point former president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso scored thirty percent with Lula only slightly higher at 38 percent.

However, 57 percent of those surveyed chose Lula as the favorite for the presidential candidacy in 2014, against 32 percent for Rousseff.

The Brazilian constitution restricts presidents to two consecutive terms, but allows candidates to stand for re-election after a period of being out of office. 2014 is, therefore, set to be an interesting struggle between two political heavyweights who stand as the most popular leaders in the country’s history.

However, it remains unclear whether Lula will in fact run for office. The popular former president has been struggling with his health after being diagnosed with throat cancer in October 2011 and has said on previous occasions that he would not stand in the way of Rousseff’s bid for re-election were she to stand.

When Lula handed power to Rousseff in 2011, he left with a remarkable approval rating of just under ninety percent – thought to be the highest approval rating of any departing elected president ever.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Update is a new feature we are offering to help keep you up-to-date with major news as it happens.


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