This is Steve Emberwith the VOA Special English program IN THE NEWS.
Brazilians elected a new president this week. Luis Inacio Lula daSilva won sixty-one percent of the vote to defeat Jose Serra, theruling party candidate. The man popularly known as Lula will besworn-in on January first. He replaces two-term President FernandoHenrique Cardoso.
Mister da Silva was bornfifty-seven years ago in Brazil's northeastern state of Pernambuco.He came from a very poor family. His father was a farm worker. Luisleft school while still a child. He earned money by shining shoesand selling food on the streets of Sao Paulo. By the age offourteen, he became a metal-worker in a factory.
In nineteen-seventy-five, Mister da Silva became head of theone-hundred-thousand-member Metalworkers Union. He came to representopposition to Brazil's military government. As a labor leader, hewas jailed for organizing a series of strikes. After his release innineteen-eighty, he helped to establish the Workers' Party. It wasthe first major Socialist Party in the country's history.
Mister da Silva was a candidate for president in three earlierelections before his win on Sunday. At first, he urged landless farmworkers to invade private property. He also said Brazil should stopmaking payments on its debt. In recent years, however, he hasexpressed moderate positions on some issues. An increase in hispopularity followed.
Brazil is the largest country in South America. Aboutone-hundred-seventy-five-million live there. However, about thirtypercent of the population is considered needy. Many of them do notget enough to eat.
Mister da Silva says a top goal of his administration will be toend hunger in Brazil. He hopes to have all Brazilians eating threemeals a day by the end of his four-year term in office. Thepresident-elect also says he will create ten-million new jobs andwork to keep inflation low. He says the majority of Brazilians votedfor such a new economic and social model.
Mister da Silva says he will honor Brazil's agreements withlending organizations like the International Monetary Fund. And, hesays Brazil will continue to make payments on its debt oftwo-hundred-sixty-thousand-million dollars.
Some investors are concerned about Mister da Silva's politics andhis earlier criticism of lending organizations. In recent months,individuals and foreign banks have withdrawn thousands of millionsof dollars from Brazil. The value of Brazil's money has droppedsharply.
Mister da Silva has made several moves to ease investors'worries. He chose a wealthy businessman as his vice-president.Mister da Silva has offered to move forward on talks to establish afree trade area in the Americas. He also plans to name a traditionaleconomist to head Brazil's central bank.
This VOA Special English program IN THE NEWS was written by CatyWeaver. This is Steve Ember.