Brazil’s leftist President Dilma Rousseff will face pro-business rival Aecio Neves in an election runoff on Oct. 26 after no single candidate won a clear majority in Sunday’s election.
With three-quarters of votes counted, Rousseff led with 40.4 percent support compared with 35.2 percent for Neves, Reuters reported.
In what has been described as the country’s most volatile campaign in decades, Neves pledged “safe change” and banked on his record as a popular two-term governor to challenge Rousseff, who has presided over a long economic slump but remains popular among the poor.
Marina Silva, a prominent environmentalist who had recently led opinion polls but saw her support collapse late in the campaign, was in third place with just 21 percent of the votes.
The second round will pit Rousseff’s emphasis on robust social programs and state intervention in the economy against Neves’ vision of greater trade and a more austere state.
Silva had as recently as late last week seemed like Rousseff’s probable challenger. But her campaign abruptly fell apart under a barrage of negative ads that accused her of flip-flopping on issues like taxes and gay marriage.
That provided Neves, the grandson of a beloved politician from the 1980s, a window to present himself as a more steady alternative.
His centrist Brazilian Social Democracy Party governed Brazil from 1995 to 2002, a period that saw important pro-market reforms that ended decades of high inflation and financial instability, the report said.
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