Brazil’s President prepares to step down

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is more popular than ever as he prepares to
step down, but Brazilians are warier about the prospects for his successor
Dilma Rousseff, according to a new poll.

Lula’s government had the approval
of 80 per cent of respondents in a December survey by polling firm Ibope,
beating the previous high of 77 per cent marked in September. Lula’s personal
approval rating — which has long been the envy of other world leaders — touched
a dizzying new high of 87 per cent.

The country’s first working class
president, Lula has presided over eight years of sustained prosperity that has
transformed Brazil from an economic also-ran into an emerging market giant. His
popularity helped propel his former chief of staff Rousseff to the presidency
in October elections.

The Ibope poll showed that many
Brazilians are reserving judgment on former leftist militant Rousseff, whose
government begins with her inauguration on 1 January.

 Asked whether they believed her government
would be a good one, 62 per cent of respondents agreed, 19 per cent said it
would be normal and 9 per cent said it would be bad.

The nationwide Ibope poll,
commissioned by Brazil’s National Confederation of Industries, covered 2,002
people between 4 December and 9 December.

Despite the government’s overall
high popularity, the survey highlighted weak areas. A majority of respondents
— 54 percent — disapproved of the government’s policies on health and 51 per cent
were unhappy with its tax policy.


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