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Plebiscite Would Give Lula Chance at Third Mandate as President of Brazil

Lula and Dilma Rousseff Another period for Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as president of Brazil is "a risk" which would distance the country "from the republic and would draw it nearer to a monarchy," said the president of the Brazilian Supreme Electoral Tribunal, TSE, Ayres Brito.

"The republic promotes temporality and the possibility to rotate in office. The longer a mandate, the more distant from the republic and the closer to a monarchy," underlined the TSE president in an interview with  daily Folha de S. Paulo.

The minister thus joined the growing debate in Brazil against a second presidential re-election following the proposal a week ago from a ruling coalition member of the Lower House, Jackson Barreto, to hold a plebiscite that would open the doors for a constitutional amendment and the possibility of a third period running for Lula, the most popular Brazilian leader in recent history.

Barreto said he would be presenting his initiative for a September referendum sometime this week, which would make it valid for the 2010 presidential election.

Apparently the initiative already has 178 support promises in the Lower House, 16 of them from the opposition, which is more than the minimum number necessary according to the rules of the House to make the proposal official.

However Ayres Brito, a strong voice in electoral affairs, said that the project does not "conciliate" with the spirit of the republic.

"To hold that a third consecutive mandate is constitutional, is to say that so is a fourth period, and there is no way to say then that the fifth period is also constitutional, making ever so fragile the concept and essence of republicanism."

The idea of a third consecutive period was again discarded by President Lula, who has already hand picked as his successor in the Workers Party and as presidential candidate for 2010. She is cabinet chief Dilma Rousseff.

"No, I don't want any debate on a third term. It's nonsense to talk about a third mandate," he underlined in spite of growing fears among party and congressional leaders since Ms Rousseff was recently exposed to cancer treatment.

But even if she is "completely cured" following chemotherapy, as the presidential office insists, her illness has revived Lula's succession debate. And the main opposition candidate São Paulo governor José Serra has her trailing 30 percentage points, the last opinion polls show.

In her frail condition Lula's performance and record breaking approval ratings, instead of helping Ms Rousseff are further sinking her chances.

Lula went further to say, "In 2014 I'm only interested in seeing the world football Cup played in Brazil. Only God knows what will happen then," when he can effectively run for a new period according to the current constitution.

Mercopress

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