Return of Lula as Brazil's president unlikely, but possible

jueves 1 de mayo de 2014 11:23 GYT

By Brian Winter and Anthony Boadle

BRASILIA May 1 (Reuters) - It's the catch phrase of the moment in Brazil's capital, seen on posters and even a few bumper stickers: "Come back, Lula."

As President Dilma Rousseff sags in polls ahead of this October's election, there are growing calls for her popular predecessor and mentor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to take her place as the Workers' Party candidate.

Lula, who presided over an economic boom as president from 2003 to 2010, remains Brazil's most popular politician by far. His legendary schmoozing ability and pragmatic policies are a source of nostalgia among many investors and others frustrated with Rousseff's more hermetic personal style and heavy hand in the economy, which has sputtered on her watch.

The clamor for the 68-year-old former metalworker's return has gained support in Congress, including among members of Rousseff's own coalition.

Twenty legislators from the mid-sized Republic Party signed a manifesto this week saying that Lula's leadership was necessary "at this time of crisis in Brazil and abroad."

Party whip Bernardo Vasconcellos hung a photo of Lula in the party's office and told reporters: "It's not that we don't want (Rousseff); We want Lula."

Sources close to both leaders told Reuters that, despite the groundswell, Rousseff is almost certain to be the Workers' Party candidate this year, although they declined to totally rule out Lula's return.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, they attributed the "Come back, Lula" movement to natural pre-election jitters and jockeying by parties seeking favors ahead of the election.   Continuación...