Brazil's leftist presidential candidate, Luis Inacio da Silva, won in a landslide victory on Sunday. The victory gives Latin America's biggest country its first working-class leader. Mr. da Silva, who is widely known as Lula, was elected in a runoff election with 61 percent of the vote. His government-backed rival, Jose Serra, took 39 percent and conceded defeat. President-elect da Silva has said he will be the president for all Brazilians. But there is some opposition in the Brazilian business community. Brian Purchia has more.
Business leader Eduardo Gouvea acknowledges many executives might have preferred another candidate to President elect da Silva, because he is a leftist. But he says he’s not worried about Mr. da Silva’s ideology.
“What is ‘left’ today in the world? What does it mean?”
Others, such as former Foreign Minister Luiz Felipe Lampreia, believe the election of Mr. Lula da Silva marks a clear break from the past.
FELIPE LAMPREIA, FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER LUIZ
“I think it is a signal that Latin America, and South America particularly, has found itself disenchanted with liberal economic policies.”
In the late 1970s and early 80s, Mr. da Silva led movements against Brazil’s military dictatorship. He also became one of the founders of the leftist Workers Party, or P-T. He first ran for President in 1989, but lost – and lost again in 1994 and 1998. Political scientist Fabiano Santos says Mr. da Silva modified the leftist views that led to his previous defeats.
FABIANO SANTOS, POLITICAL SCIENTIST
“He changed a lot after three national elections, and he’s now more concerned about national problems, more concerned with the median voter, more concerned about Brazil in general.”
The President-elect is pledging to control inflation and limit spending to pull Brazil out of its deep financial crisis. He recently told TV Globo that he would not immediately endorse the U.S.-backed Western Hemisphere free trade zone.
LUIS INACIO DA SILVA
“I believe no one is a stronger defender of free trade than I. But what I want is free trade under equal conditions. If it’s true that the United States dominates this hemisphere economically and technologically, then it also has to be true that we need to prepare our economy, our industry, and our agriculture to be able to compete.”
U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neil says financial markets will be looking very carefully at Mr. da Silva’s policies.