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Words in the News
Friday 02 January 2004
Brazil's president's first year in office
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, president of Brazil The Brazilian president is celebrating his first year in office. On January the first last year, "Lula", as Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is usually known, became the country's first democratically-elected left-wing president. One year on, the BBC's correspondent in Brazil, Steve Kingstone, has this analysis:
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The inauguration of Lula was marked by a mixture of hopes and fears. The majority of Brazilians hoped this former metal worker would deliver them a better life, but some in the financial community feared that he would spend too much and default on Brazil's foreign debt.

One year on, the critics have been pleasantly surprised. Lula has kept a tight rein on spending; inflation has fallen and interest rates are now coming down. The Brazilian stock market is at record levels and the government has won rave reviews from the IMF and the World Bank.

But that discipline has extracted a high price. The Brazilian economy has hardly grown at all over the past year, and unemployment is running at thirteen per cent. Some within Lula's own Workers' Party say he's flirted with the bankers at the expense of the Brazilian people.

The government responds by predicting stronger growth in 2004: the president says job creation will be his New Year's obsession. He can also point to an ambitious anti-hunger programme and recent reforms of the country's pension and tax systems as evidence that he wants to tackle Brazil's deeper problems.

According to the opinion polls, two out of three Brazilians are optimistic about Lula's prospects, but the task ahead remains formidable. Here forty-million people live on less than one US dollar a day, and reducing poverty in Brazil may take several generations of political effort.

Listen Listen to the words
An official ceremony where a new leader is formally given their new job – here, when Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was made president of Brazil
deliver them a better life
If you deliver a better life to someone you do things that improve their life
One year on
A year after something has happened – here, the election of the Brazilian president
a tight rein
If you keep a tight rein on something you control it firmly
extracted a high price
here, had a big negative effect
flirted with
here, was briefly but not seriously in contact with people from the banks
at the expense of
If you do something at the expense of others, then what you are doing has a negative effect on those other people
an obsession is something that you spend as much of your time as possible with
deeper problems
the bigger, more important problems
several generations
a generation is a period of time lasting approximately thirty years, so several generations will be a multiple of thirty years, a long time
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