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Brazilian president joins in carnival revelry

Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva joined in with the carnival atmosphere over the weekend as thrilled locals and tourists looked on.

It was the first time that the premier, wearing a white suit and a panama hat, had attended the event in Rio de Janeiro, as well as being the first time that any president had been to the carnival since 1994.

Some 70,000 people attended the Sambadrome on Sunday (February 22nd) in order to watch competitions between schools of samba dancers.

His willingness to participate in Brazil's important events could be one reason why Mr Lula da Silva is so popular - earlier this month, a poll carried out on behalf of the National Transport Confederation found that he had an 84 per cent approval rate in January.

This was the highest rate recorded since he took office in 2003 and showed an increase over the previous month, when the approval rate stood at 80.3 per cent.

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