Brasilia:  Former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has said that incumbent Dilma Rousseff will be re-elected in October, regardless of whether or not host nation Brazil wins this summer’s World Cup football tournament.

“I think that Rousseff is going to win the elections because she’s the most prepared candidate, with the best proposals and extraordinary experience in governing,” Lula told the A Tarde daily Monday regarding his protege and successor.

Brazilians will go to the polls Oct 5 and Rousseff so far is leading in all the pre-election surveys, where some 37 percent of those polled say they intend to vote for her versus 20 percent for main challenger Aecio Neves.

Lula, Brazil’s most popular and influential politician, intends to throw himself fully into Rousseff’s re-election campaign, which will kick off in July, immediately after the World Cup concludes.

Although many political analysts believe that the result of the football  tourney will influence the enthusiasm of voters this time around, given that it  is taking place in football-mad Brazil, Lula said that there was no relationship between the two.

“Sincerely, I don’t believe that the World Cup will influence the candidates at all, whether Brazil wins or loses,” the former president said.

Last year, when Brazil hosted the Confederations Cup, hundreds of thousands took part in protests against heavy public spending on high-profile sporting events, knocking Rousseff’s approval rating down from 70 percent to 35 percent.

Regarding the demands for better public services that were sought during the 2013 protests, Lula acknowledged that, after 12 years in power for his Workers Party, or PT, “there is much to do” yet.

However, he said that “it wouldn’t be possible to do in 12 years what  wasn’t done in 500 years” and he noted that, despite the public unease reflected  in the protests, “in investment in education, health care, job creation, salary  increases and fighting extreme poverty and hunger the PT government serves as an example for the world”.

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