UPDATE 2-Brazil's Lula calls for end to austerity, return to growth

lunes 28 de marzo de 2016 16:55 GYT

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By Caroline Stauffer

SAO PAULO, March 28 (Reuters) - Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva urged a return to pro-growth economic policies like tax breaks and more consumer credit on Monday, doubling down on a strategy that has strained public accounts in recent years.

Lula said during a news conference that he wanted to serve as an advisor to his successor, President Dilma Rousseff, regardless of salary or legal protection in court.

"I am convinced that I can contribute, and it will be possible to change the mood in this country in a few months," he told foreign journalists.

Rousseff is facing impeachment proceedings in Congress and the main partner in her ruling coalition appears set to leave the government.

In an effort to rally allies against impeachment, Rousseff appointed Lula as her cabinet chief this month. That sparked protests and cries of foul play from political opponents, who saw it as an effort to shield him from a graft probe into state-run oil company Petrobras.

Prosecutors say there is evidence that Lula received luxury real estate from contractors implicated in a vast Petrobras bribery scheme. Lula denies any wrongdoing and said on Monday he was not responsible for knowing about corruption at Petrobras when he was president.

A policy institute run by Lula said in a statement that he was "the target of a quasi-judicial witch hunt" and not even formally under investigation.   Continuación...