Brazil’s president may not run again in 2014

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has not yet decided whether she or her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, will be her party’s candidate in the next election in 2014, a leading minister said in an interview published on Wednesday.

Communications Minister Paulo Bernardo said Rousseff, who took office on Jan. 1, was the likely candidate “if she has the desire to run.” But he said she would first need to discuss the matter with Lula, who remains extremely popular.

“I don’t see that question being resolved without a conversation between the two of them. It’s very early still,” Bernardo said in an interview published on the website of newspaper Folha de S.Paulo.

A government official told Reuters last week that Rousseff has often floated the idea of not running again in private conversations, although the assumption in the presidential palace remains that she will. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The comments by Bernardo, who is close to both Rousseff and Lula, come as Rousseff deals with a political crisis in her allied base in Congress and an economy that is showing clear signs of a slowdown after a boom in recent years.

Rousseff remains popular among most Brazilians but has struggled to hold together her ruling coalition in Congress.

Lula, who governed Brazil from 2003 to 2010, was forbidden by law from running for a third consecutive term. His support for Rousseff, who was chief of staff in his government, was critical to her winning last year’s election.

Lula has repeatedly said in recent months that Rousseff will be his party’s candidate in 2014.


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