Brazil’s leader Silva hints he may run again

The Pak Banker - - International -

SAO PAULO: Brazil's pop­u­lar leader hinted Mon­day he may run for the pres­i­dency again - less than two weeks be­fore his hand-cho­sen suc­ces­sor takes of­fice.

Pres­i­dent Luiz Ina­cio Lula da Silva said dur­ing an in­ter­view broad­cast by Rede TV that he could not deny he might vie again for the lead­er­ship of Latin Amer­ica's largest nation.

"I can­not say no be­cause I'm still alive," Silva re­sponded when asked if he might run again for the pres­i­dency. "I'm an hon­orary pres­i­dent of a party, I'm a born politician. I built ex­tra­or­di­nary po­lit­i­cal re­la­tion­ships." It is not the first time Silva has sug­gested he would re­turn to pol­i­tics at some point af­ter Jan. 1, when he hands over the pres­i­dency to his for­mer chief of staff, Pres­i­dent-elect Dilma Rouss­eff. Silva is leav­ing of­fice with record ap­proval rat­ings: as high as 87 per­cent ac­cord­ing to one poll.

In June of last year, Silva, 65, said he would run again if Rouss­eff lost the elec­tion to the op­po­si­tion can­di­date. She eas­ily won a sec­ond-round vote in Oc­to­ber. In nearly ev­ery speech or pub­lic ap­pear­ance since the elec­tion, he has lamented leav­ing the lime­light and spo­ken of "missing the mi­cro­phone."

Dur­ing the Rede TV in­ter­view, Silva threw his weight be­hind Rouss­eff, a ca­reer tech­no­crat who was largely elected on the back of Silva's pop­u­lar­ity. While say­ing that Rouss­eff could eas­ily be re-elected in four years, he also left the door open for his even­tual re­turn. Rouss­eff sur­vived lym­phoma last year and she and her doc­tors have said she is fully cured. That has not, how­ever, qui­eted chat­ter among po­lit­i­cal watch­ers that Silva may step in for her in the 2014 elec­tions should her health be­come an is­sue. "We're go­ing to work for Dilma to have a good govern­ment, and when the moment ar­rives, we'll see what hap­pens," Silva said. Per­haps sens­ing that his com­ments may re­ver­ber­ate too much so soon be­fore Rouss­eff takes of­fice, Silva pref­aced his words on jump­ing back into pol­i­tics by say­ing he was "afraid to­mor­row some­body will watch your in­ter­view and say that 'Lula said he could be a can­di­date.'" -Ap

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