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Brazil to elect next President on Sunday
October 26, 2014, 7:08 am

Brazil's President and presidential candidate for the Worker's Party (PT) Dilma Rousseff (R) shakes hands with candidate for Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) Aecio Neves during a television debate in Jacarepagua, west of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Oct. 24, 2014 [Xinhua]

Brazil’s President and presidential candidate for the Worker’s Party (PT) Dilma Rousseff (R) shakes hands with candidate for Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) Aecio Neves during a television debate in Jacarepagua, west of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Oct. 24, 2014 [Xinhua]

Millions of Brazilians will elect a new President on Sunday with a second-round vote, even as President Dilma Rousseff and opposition candidate Aecio Neves are locked in a statistical tie.

Incumbent Rousseff is facing center-right candidate Aecio Neves. The latest poll has given Rousseff a slight advantage. A survey by Datafolha gave Rousseff 52 per cent voter support against 48 per cent for Neves. More than 142 million Brazilians are eligible to vote in Sunday’s presidential polls.

Neves has indicated he would seek to repair ties with the United States, if elected.

“I am sure we will be getting much closer to the US and will try to wrap up negotiations with the European Union,” Arminio Fraga, the top economic adviser of Neves has asserted.

The final pre-election debate was marked by a divisive campaign mounted by both sides.

Neves, who is marginally trailing in the polls, repeatedly attacked Rousseff’s governing party for being corrupt.

“If we ever analyse the governments of the Workers’ Party, I can assure you they will be associated with one of the biggest corruption scandals in our history,” Neves said.

Dilma Rousseff responded.

“In all parties there are good and bad people. Now, what I want to tell you, is that even if it’s painful for some, those who commit irregularities will pay,” Rousseff said.

But with Brazil’s economy suffering its worst slowdown since the early 2000s and battling high inflation, it will not be an easy task to meet the hopes of millions of Brazilians who want the next President to quickly push their country onto the top table of global economic powers.

The Brazilian economy tumbled into a recession this year and the inflation rate hit its highest level in nearly three years in September, rising above the central bank’s official target of 4.5 per cent, with a tolerance range of 2 percentage points.

Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega has, however, hit back at the IMF for its revised growth forecast for Brazil.

“These assessments contrast with other recent papers published by the institution … that concluded that external factors have been responsible for 60 percent of the growth slowdown in Brazil. Perhaps the IMF needs to consider more carefully its assessments of national economies before publishing them,” Mantega said earlier this month.

Some 30,000 troops will be deployed to 250 cities across Brazil to ensure smooth voting on Sunday.

 

TBP and Agencies

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