British Prime Minister Tony Blair sparked a fresh bout of conjecture over his future on Monday when he said it may have been a mistake to rule out a fourth term.
The prime minister, on a visit to Australia, was asked in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corp if his determination not to seek another term was a mistake that had left him open to calls for his resignation.
"I think what happens when you get into your third term and you are coming up to your 10th year is that it really doesn't matter what you say," said Blair, in office since 1997.
"You are going to get people saying it should be time for a change or 'when are you going?' or 'who's taking over?'"
The announcement not to seek a fourth term was "an unusual thing for me to say, but people kept asking me the question so I decided to answer it. Maybe that was a mistake."
On the eve of a heart operation in 2004 and under pressure from the fallout of the Iraq war, Blair ruled out a fourth term but said he intended to serve a full third term.
That could take him to 2010 but most commentators expect him to hand over to his presumed successor, Finance Minister Gordon Brown, in the next year or two.
His spokesman said Blair was keen to carry on. "The prime minister is focused on getting on with the business he was elected to get on with," he said.
Several analysts believe Blair is particularly keen to see through reforms to the National Health Service, due by 2008.
segunda-feira, março 27, 2006
Publicada por Bruno Gouveia Gonçalves à(s) 7:00 da tarde