* President cannot seek third successive term
* Lula has high approval ratings
* Next year's candidates lack his charisma
BRASILIA, June 26 Brazil's Luiz Inacio Lula da
Silva is likely to run for the presidency again in 2014 if an
opposition candidate wins next year's election, he said in an
interview published on Friday.
Lula, who is barred by the constitution from running for a
third straight term in October 2010, said he would support
likely Workers' Party candidate Dilma Rousseff if she won next
year and would not seek to succeed her in 2014.
Despite previous hints by Lula, the remarks are the
strongest indication yet the popular leader may not retire from
politics after he leaves office on Jan. 1, 2011.
"I'll be pulling for Dilma to do her best and run for
re-election," he said in the interview in with Zero Hora, a
newspaper in the southern city of Porto Alegre.
"If an adversary wins the election, then it can be
predicted that I'll come back in 2014."
The center-left Lula, first elected president in 2002, has
approval ratings of 80 percent but has rejected calls to change
the constitution and run for a third straight term.
Neither Rousseff, who is Lula's chief of staff, nor her
expected main opponent, centrist Sao Paulo Governor Jose Serra,
are seen as having the charisma or electoral Midas touch that
Lula has shown.
Some senior members of the ruling party say Rousseff may
step down to allow Lula another run at the presidency in 2014.
But Lula said in the interview that if she won his role
would be "to work so that she could do the maximum possible."
Feared by markets as a dangerous leftist when he was first
elected, Lula followed orthodox economic policies that nurtured
a five-year economic boom while social programs helped lift
millions of Brazilians out of poverty.
(Reporting by Natuza Nery; Writing by Stuart Grudgings;
editing by Todd Benson and Alan Elsner)