29 September 2010
Last updated at 11:23
It took Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva four attempts before he was finally elected as Brazil's president in 2002 and then re-elected for a second term in 2006. He came to office as the first leftist leader in Brazil in nearly half a century.
President Lula, who cannot stand for a third term in the 3 October election, leaves the post with high approval ratings. His 2002 election victory marked the end of a remarkable journey - from abject poverty to the presidency of Brazil.
From a poor, illiterate rural family, he trained as a metal worker and found work near Sao Paulo, where he lost the little finger of his left hand in an accident. He threw himself into trade union activism after his first wife died in 1969.
In 1980, he brought together a combination of trade unionists, intellectuals, Trotskyites and church activists to found the Workers' Party (PT), the first major socialist party in the country's history.
Before his 2002 election victory, Lula had previously lost three times and he began to believe his party would never win power nationally without forming alliances and keeping powerful economic players onside.
Lula came to power promising major reforms to the country's political and economic system. He vowed to eradicate hunger and create a self-confident, outward-looking nation.
In his time in office, Lula pumped billions of dollars into social programmes in an attempt to reverse Brazil's historic inequalities.
By increasing the minimum wage well above inflation and broadening state help to the most impoverished with a family grant programme, the Bolsa Familia, Lula's government lifted millions of people out of poverty.
However, in 2005 his popularity was dented by accusations of corruption in the Workers Party involving a cash-for-votes scheme in Congress. The president apologised and said he had known nothing about the alleged corruption.
Brazil's profile has never been higher on the international stage. Few world summits on key issues such as climate change or energy seemed complete without President Lula.
Newly discovered oil fields promise extra revenues to tackle the country's social problems. However the opposition says much of the groundwork for Brazil's recent economic success was carried out under the previous president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
Staging the 2014 World Cup and holding the 2016 Olympics in Rio will put Brazil in the limelight as never before. When Rio won the Olympic race, Lula could not hold back his emotions.
Brazil is set to elect new president on 3 October to succeed Lula, who after two terms in the post boasts approval ratings of some 80%, has thrown all his weight and charisma behind his Workers Party's (PT) candidate, Dilma Rousseff.
During his 2002 inauguration speech before a special joint session of Congress Lula stated, "If at the end of my term every Brazilian person has three meals per day, I will have fulfilled my life's mission..."
Dilma Rousseff was elected president of Brazil to succeed Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Ms Rousseff, 62, who has never before held elected office, becomes the country's first woman president.