Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva told Reuters on Friday he would keep conservative economic policies if he were re-elected in October and distanced himself from his former left-wing base.
In an interview, Lula also urged global leaders meeting at the G8 summit in St. Petersburg to push for a breakthrough in the World Trade Organization's Doha round.
The former union leader launched his campaign on Thursday to win a second term in October 1 elections. Polls show he has a strong but shrinking lead over former Sao Paulo state Gov. Geraldo Alckmin.
Some investors are concerned Lula could return to a left-wing platform in order to satisfy his traditional constituency, which helped elect him in 2002 but grew disillusioned with his conservative economic policies.
There is no reason to change; there are things to perfect. We want to reduce interest rates, we want to grow a little more, generate more jobs, said Lula in the presidential palace in Brasilia.
I never was a leftist, he said, even though for decades he advocated suspending foreign debt payments and breaking with the International Monetary Fund.
Lula also played down concerns he could change his agenda to forge political alliances, and said policies were not made by individual ministers but by the government. Whoever will become labor or finance minister will comply with government determinations.
The Lula administration lacks a clear majority in Congress, and the ruling Workers' Party risks losing additional seats in October as a result of a corruption scandal last year that tainted its image. The party used illicit funds to finance election campaigns and allegedly bribe legislators.
As part of his election campaign, Lula has been eager to showcase his government's leadership in creating freer farm trade in the WTO Doha round.
Lula urged global leaders meeting at the G8 summit in Russia this weekend to give political impulse to stalled WTO negotiations. Everybody has their (offers) in the coat pocket. I propose to the leaders that we all put our cards on the table at the same time.
The 60-year-old former metalworker said he was optimistic that global trade players had sufficient sensitivity to reach an agreement. I'm traveling to the G8 with good expectations.
He reiterated that Brazil was prepared to make concessions. Brazil is ready to show flexibility on industry and service, Lula said in reference to its proposal to reduce tariffs on industrial goods and import barriers on services.
A global trade deal, Lula said, would help stem terrorism, fight poverty and prevent the flight of labor from developing nations. If we want to combat terrorism, immigration, we have to give the people the opportunity to survive. That's the challenge of the twenty-first century.
The Doha round, aimed partly at helping poor nations out of poverty by lowering trade barriers, is in crisis because of differences over tariffs on industrial goods and subsidies on farm products, two main pillars of the negotiations.
The round has been hailed as a once-in-a-generation chance to accelerate global economic growth and reduce poverty. A deal needs to be brokered by the end of the year.
Brazil, which represents 1 percent of global trade, heads the group of 20 big developing nations within the WTO.