Rousseff favored in Brazil runoff

SAO PAULO Mon Oct 4, 2010 5:46pm EDT

1 of 14. Brazilian presidential candidate for the Ruling Workers Party (PT) Dilma Rousseff attends a meeting with Brazilian governors in Brasilia October 4, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino

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SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Ruling party candidate Dilma Rousseff must win over voters concerned about her abortion views and corruption in her inner circle but remains the clear favorite to win an October 31 runoff election and become Brazil's next president.

Rousseff and her supporters were disappointed after she got 46.9 percent of the votes in Sunday's presidential election, short of the majority needed to avoid a second round against opposition candidate Jose Serra, who took 32.6 percent.

Rousseff was meeting with top advisers on Monday to figure out how to address long-standing questions about her lack of charisma and executive experience -- as well as relatively new ones about her religious faith and stance on social issues that caused her support to slip in the past two weeks.

She and Serra are scrambling to gain the support of Green Party candidate Marina Silva, who placed a surprisingly strong third with 19.3 percent after siphoning away many votes from Rousseff at the last minute.

The Green Party will hold a convention in the coming days to decide which of the two candidates it will support in the runoff, Alfredo Sirkis, a party director told Reuters.

"We understand the anxiety of both candidates. The fact is that it will be a process of 15 days," he said.

Rousseff, 62, still has by far the biggest asset in the campaign: the support of wildly popular President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Lula handpicked his former chief of staff to continue the stable economic management that has made Brazil a darling of foreign investors and lifted millions of people from poverty.

Opinion polls conducted before Sunday's vote projected that Rousseff would win a runoff over Serra by as many as 20 percentage points. Lula has promised to crisscross the country during the next four weeks to campaign for her.

(Editing by Terry Wade and Eric Beech)

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Comments (4)
MauricioHouse wrote:
Rousseff has proven unable to govern Brazil as evidenced by his performance in recent broadcasted debates in Brazilian TV channels and involvement with corruption scandals. The Worker´s Party is a unanimity due its assistance programs providing instantaneous help for those in need (a large portion of the population kept in ignorance for obvious reasons). It scares the more intellectual classes since Brazil is becoming a institutionalized beggers country. Lula also scares for his recent rapprochement with dictators like Fidel Castro,Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. A huge dispute with possible very serious consequences for the future of Brazil. On one corner Lula, Rousseff and their dangerous policies and sinister alliances. On the other corner those able to see beyond the first layers of their history and capable to predict the consequences on the years to come.

Oct 03, 2010 10:40pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
GA_Chris wrote:
Lula has bought votes by giving hand outs to all, and risks killing Brasil before it even starts to really become a power.
Brasil needs a Thatcher like President who can force some tough decisions and also simplify the ridiculously complicated tax rules, which cost so much to comply with, but lead to little revenue to the gov..

Oct 04, 2010 2:37am EDT  --  Report as abuse
AFFS86 wrote:
Thanks but Thatcher led the UK to record unemployment rates. We don’t want that over here.

That’s about the most ridiculous post I’ve read on the issue. How typical of the stupid Brazilian middle-class. So poverty relief is actually a “sinister” policy, an effort to keep the population in ignorance. Many people have been lifted out of poverty, Mauricio, many more so than in the previous government, that of Serra’s party, the PSDB.

Corruption scandals happen all over the world. And no one can do anything to supress it completely – for that’s something rooted in human nature. If a person thinks he can do something wrong but profittable, and not be punished over it – he will do it. The only way to reduce corruption levels is to increase government transparency and to insert further controls to watch goverment members’ behaviours. The perception that one is being closely watched and thus is vulnerable to punishment – only that will make those corruptible refrain from illegal deeds.

If Rousseff is not a suitable leader just because some aide of hers was caught on a corruption scandal, then one can say that of virtually all presidents in Brazil. Juscelino Kubitschek – the president most highly rated in Brazil’s history – also put in his cabinet many persons who turned out to not be trustworthy. That’s why angry right-wingers – Carlos Lacerda, for instance – were hostile to him.

And of course, many members of the PSDB government in the 90s and early 2000s were dishonest. The reelection amendment passed the Senate because FHC bought votes from Congressmen. And you cannot forget that Serra himself considered José Arruda as a running mate until Arruda was caught buying votes from people in the DF parliament. So, if Rousseff is not a suitable leader because of Erenice, then Serra can’t be considered one either because of Arruda. The fact, however, is that Rousseff has, and can have, no control over what her aides do, just as Serra cannot be held responsible over what Arruda’s deeds.

And Maurício, Rousseff’s last appearance at a TV debate was more highly rated than Serra’s. According to Datafolha, she was considered the best by 29% of the people interviewed. 20% preferred Serra.

And what you mean by saying that Brazil is becoming a country of beggars? Do you know that the middle-class now makes up 51% of the population, as opposed to the 37% figure prior to Lula’s presidency? Unless the middle-class has raised the ugly habit of begging on the streets, what you say is untrue and pretty weird. I doubt the more intellectualized people actually think that. Probably what you mean by intellectuals are the angry media personalities that appear on TV fueling the feeling of self righteous superiority in petit bourgeoise minded people – you know, people like you.

Oct 04, 2010 12:46pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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