BRASÍLIA (Reuters) – Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said on Thursday he would seek to strengthen state-owned companies such as power company Eletrobras and postal service Correios if elected, potentially complicating current plans to privatize the enterprises.
The Bolsonaro government wants to privatize Eletrobras and Correios but the move has been repeatedly delayed.
Lula, in an interview with Radio Progresso, said he believes the state should maintain a strong hand in certain strategic sectors, but that he does not support widespread nationalization of already private enterprises.
Once again, Lula – who currently leads in the polls ahead of an October election – criticized the fuel policy of state-controlled oil company Petrobras which reflect international prices. Prices in Brazil have surged due to the rising price of fuel on international markets and a weakening real.
“I know the market is nervous,” he said. “But we are going to ‘Brazilianize’ the price of gasoline. The price will be Brazilian because the investment is made in real,” he added referring to Brazil’s currency. Lula has previously said he wants to reduce the local cost of fuel and disconnect it from international dollar prices.
The former president said he will announce whether he will run by mid-March.
(Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Writing by Ana Mano; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)