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Monday, 20 September 2010

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Reports against Presidential pick:

Lula hits back

BRAZIL: Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva hit back Saturday at a report suggesting his former chief minister Dilma Rousseff, poised to succeed him, oversaw a ministry involved in alleged corruption.

Lula, speaking at a campaign rally in Campinas, a town just north of Sao Paulo, claimed “certain newspapers and magazines were acting as if they were political parties” in trying to smear Rousseff, who is leading the race to become Brazil’s next head of state in October 3 elections.

A report Saturday in Brazil’s biggest-circulation news magazine Veja said his government’s Casa Civil ministry the office of cabinet chief, which Rousseff held before stepping down in March to campaign for the Presidency had taken a bribe to secure a massive purchase of Tamiflu, a medicine effective against the H1N1 “swine flu” virus.

Lula said editors of publications making the accusations should “be ashamed,” and accused them of working for the opposition.

The main opposition candidate for the presidency, Jose Serra, approved a campaign ad Saturday that highlighted the Veja report.

Rousseff, speaking to reporters before the Campinas rally, said she had not read the report.

But, she said: “I have never permitted illegal practices around me. Nor do I accept them in my campaign.”

The reported corruption followed on the heels of a scandal that Thursday forced the resignation of her successor as Lula’s cabinet chief Erenice Guerra.

Guerra stepped down after reports saying her son, a businessman, used his connection with her to lobby the government on behalf of companies.

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