Thursday, October 2, 2014

Brazil: Rousseff, Silva Rivalry Heats Up, New Poll Shows Incumbent Leading

According to The Latin American Tribune, the fight for the Brazilian presidency has heated up with accusations flying thick and fast between the candidates as a new poll extended President Dilma Rousseff’s lead over her main rival, Marina Silva.

In the survey, the gap between Silva and Aecio Neves.

The Datafolha poll, released on Tuesday (September 30), predicted Rousseff as the winner in Sunday’s contest with 40% of the vote, 25% for Silva and 20% for the social democratic senator Aecio Neves.

In a likely second-round runoff scheduled for October 26 in case none of the candidates secure more than 50% in the first round, Rousseff would defeat Silva with 49% of the vote, against 41% for the former environment minister and Aecio Neves with 50% of the votes against his 41%.

Speaking in Rio de Janeiro where the three favorites campaigned on Tuesday, Rousseff accused Silva of being a “liar.”

“Since no one has asked me, I am going to make a final point. I believe that a president can make a mistake, because as human beings we all err, and become confused, but she can’t lie,” the head of state said.

COMMENT: Rousseff recalled that Silva claimed to have voted in the Senate in favor of a tax on financial transaction to raise resources for the health sector but that the record revealed otherwise.

“She said to me and to all of Brazil that she had voted in favor of the tax. And it is not true. To make a mistake is human, but lying is a character flaw,” the leader stated in the strongest criticism of her opponent in the campaign to date.

Silva responded in the same tone just a few hours later at a rally in São Paulo, saying that she did not want to look like “those people” who insisted on lying to tarnish her reputation. “Don’t call me a liar. A liar is someone who doesn’t know that there is theft in (the state oil company) Petrobras; a liar is one who says she doesn’t know there is corruption in the country,” Silva emphasized.

Neves, who was the second favorite before the rise in popularity of Silva, led a march in a lower-class neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro in an attempt to displace Silva from the #2 spot.

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