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Another plus for Lula da Silva: Dilma in the threshold of becoming Brazil’s first woman president

Saturday, October 30th 2010 - 06:58 UTC
Full article 2 comments
The two candidates shake hands following Friday night’s debate   
The two candidates shake hands following Friday night’s debate

Brazilian ruling party candidate Dilma Rousseff cruised through the final television debate with presidential rival Jose Serra on Friday as another poll showed her heading for a convincing win in Sunday's runoff election.

Serra had a last chance to win over undecided voters on Brazil's most-watched channel, but he opted not to go on the attack in a debate that had no heated exchanges between the candidates.

The debate on Globo television was in a “town hall” format with the candidates discussing questions from undecided voters, leaving little room for Serra to corner the former chief of staff of outgoing President Lula da Silva.

As she has throughout the campaign, Rousseff repeatedly stressed Brazil's huge economic strides under Lula da Silva the wildly popular former union boss who hand-picked her to succeed him.

“The economy is growing, people are going up in the world, 28 million Brazilians have left poverty and I'll bring the remaining 20 million out of poverty,” said Rousseff, the candidate of the left-leaning Workers' Party.

Rousseff, a 62-year-old career bureaucrat, leads Serra by a comfortable double-digit margin and is on track to become the first woman to be elected Brazil's president, opinion polls show.

A Datafolha survey released on Friday showed her holding steady with a 10-point lead. Rousseff had 50% of voter support compared to Serra's 40%. The previous Datafolha poll on Tuesday showed Rousseff leading Serra by 49% to 38%.

Former Sao Paulo state Governor Serra has failed to convincingly win any of the debates so far as Rousseff has fended off his attacks on her lack of experience and alleged involvement in graft scandals.

The Globo debate has been a closely watched event in Brazilian presidential races since 1989, when a poor performance by Lula da Silva in his first run for the top job tipped the election in favour of Fernando Collor.

Serra used the debate to push his argument that Brazil should be doing better and is facing growing barriers to its growth, such as an expensive currency, a high tax burden and decrepit infrastructure.

Barring a major corruption scandal, which seems unlikely so close to election day, or a huge collective opinion poll error, the former leftist militant Rousseff appears certain to win.

Rousseff would have a 12-point lead, with 56% versus 44% for Serra, once blank and void ballots are excluded, as they are on election day, the new Datafolha poll showed. Voting is mandatory in Brazil, but some leave their ballots blank to show dissatisfaction with the candidates.

President Lula da Silva’s campaigning for his hand picked candidate has been decisive for Ms Rousseff’s who came across serious questionings about her position regarding abortion, corruption scandals and even her sexuality.

Electoral authorities revealed that 136 million Brazilians are registered to vote. Results next Sunday should come in early since the system is electronic.


Categories: Politics, Brazil.

Top Comments

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  • briton

    it seems that women are due to rule this world, as there power spreads
    perhaps it wont be long before the Americans catch up and we will see a female American president

    Oct 30th, 2010 - 10:22 pm 0
  • xbarilox

    Hoje é um bom dia para uma boa noticia, Dilma Rousseff Presidente do Brasil! Parabéns! Rousseff has 55.07 percent of valid votes with 92 percent of the ballots tallied Serra has 44.93 percent of the votes, it is virtually impossible for him to overtake Dilma.

    Oct 31st, 2010 - 10:40 pm 0
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