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SAO PAULO: Brazil’s leftist former leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who heads the presidential election race, announced on Tuesday (Jun 21) that his priorities in power would be social policies and protecting the Amazon.

Polls show Brazil’s far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro lagging behind Lula ahead of a two-round presidential election in October.

“We will have to rebuild this country, with construction based on a sound foundation,” Lula said during a ceremony in Sao Paulo when he presented a 121-point programme to “get Brazil back on track”.

Surveys show Lula favoured to win a first round vote with 48 per cent against 27 per cent for Bolsonaro.

According to Lula’s programme, the first priority of his government would be to improve “the living conditions of the vast majority of Brazil’s population” including tackling hunger and a decline in purchasing power.

Fighting inflation, which reached 11.73 per cent year-on-year in May, is also top of his agenda, said Lula, who accused Bolsonaro of having “abandoned” the battle against rising prices.

Lula, who is seeking a third term after serving as president from 2003 to 2010, added it was “imperative to defend the Amazon” and oppose the “policy of destruction” set out by Bolsonaro.

“We will fight environmental crimes … and we will ensure protection of the rights and territories of Indigenous people against the advance of predatory activities,” such as illegal gold mining and logging, he said.