Brazilian President Lula da Silva's chosen candidate to succeed him next year came out on top in Sunday’s vote but fell short of an outright win needed to avoid a runoff at the end of October. The big surprise was the Green Party’s Marina Silva and her 19%, which turns her into king-maker.
An official tally of 98% of ballots showed Dilma Rousseff, Lula da Silva's former cabinet chief, won 47% of the vote to 33% for her nearest rival, former Sao Paulo state governor Jose Serra. Marina Silva, Lula da Silva's former environment minister took 19% of the ballots, far higher than the 14% forecasted by opinion polls.
Dilma’s 47% fell short of the 50% plus-one-ballot threshold required to obviate an October 31 knockout round against Serra. Pre-election surveys said Rousseff had predicted she would win 50 to 52% of the valid ballots Sunday.
We can confirm there will be a second round in the presidential elections, Ricardo Lewandowski, the president of the High Electoral Tribunal, told reporters in Brasilia.
The pre-election surveys suggest that Rousseff would handily beat Serra in the second round to become Brazil's first woman president.
Serra's attempt to tar Rousseff with scandals swirling in her camp and ruling Workers Party appeared to pay off in the days before the election, stalling her momentum and robbing her of support at the last minute.
But he did not benefit so much as Marina Silva, Lula da Silva's former environment minister with 19%, far higher than the 14% forecast for her.
We defended a victorious idea and Brazil heard our cry Silva told a media conference.
Some observers believe much of Silva's support could go to Serra rather than Rousseff in a runoff. Apparently Serra and Silva have an agreement to that effect. Analysts believe that support for Silva was a protest vote against the two leading candidates.
Sunday's elections included voting for federal and state deputies, most of the senate, and the governors of all 26 states and city mayors. Voting is compulsory in Brazil. An estimated 132 million Brazilians were registered to vote. The electronic voting system allowed for the quick results.
President Lula da Silva, the most popular Brazilian leader since Getulio Vargas will be stepping down January first 2011. He has served two mandates running (eight years) and is barred from a third consecutive period.