* Venezuelan leader views Brazil candidate as ally
* Praises Dilma Rousseff's background as militant
By Andrew Cawthorne
CARACAS, Aug 8 Venezuela's President Hugo
Chavez praised Brazilian presidential candidate Dilma
Rousseff's left-wing credentials on Sunday and said he was
optimistic she would win the October vote.
The most radical in a generation of Latin American
socialist leaders, Chavez views neighbor and economic
heavyweight Brazil as an essential ally and has a good
relationship with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
"Let's see what happens in October in Brazil, but we are
very optimistic," Chavez said on his weekly TV program.
Rousseff, former energy minister and chief of staff for
Lula, is ahead in the polls. [ID:nN06193940]
"Dilma has a trajectory like Lula's, many years of leftist
militancy. She's not just an opportunist ...," said Chavez, who
also praised her knowledge of the oil industry.
"She's a great comrade."
The Venezuelan leader said Lula, whose government pursues a
moderate and market-friendly line, had told him that Rousseff
was well on track during a meeting between the two presidents
last week in Caracas.
"Lula brought me very positive information about Brazil's
next president," he said.
Rousseff's main rival for the presidency is opposition
candidate Jose Serra, the former governor of Sao Paulo state.
Support from Lula, one of Brazil's most popular presidents
in history, and robust economic growth have been the main
forces driving Rousseff's rise in the polls.
The latest poll put her at 39 percent, compared to 34
percent for Serra, less than two months before the first round
of the presidential election on Oct. 3.
(Editing by Paul Simao)