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Lula's Campaign Expects Decisive Second Round Victory in Brazil Presidential Vote


In Brazil, leftist presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, known widely as simply "Lula," scored a solid first-place in Sunday's election, but he failed to win outright in the first round. Lula campaign officials say they are prepared to win decisively in the second round.

The crowds waved banners and cheered outside Lula's headquarters, early in the evening Sunday. However, by the time 30 percent of the vote had been counted, it was clear that there would be no first-round victory. Some Lula supporters gathered briefly to dance and cheer on Sao Paulo's main avenue. Most people went home, discouraged that the hoped-for absolute majority had not materialized.

University student and Lula campaign worker Terra Friedrich Budini says she is not among those who is disappointed. "Maybe the people that voted are, but we in the party, we are not. I think it is no problem," she said.

She says she plans to talk to people who voted for the candidates who were eliminated from the next round of voting, to convince them to vote for Lula. "We have a candidate that is our hope, the only chance we have to change our country and to change our society," Ms. Budini said.

International media spokesman for the Lula campaign Giancarlo Summa says a first-round victory would have been nice, but that campaign officials were prepared for this outcome and are now focused on winning the second round. "We are confident that we will be able to maintain our first place in the polls. We are absolutely sure of that," he said. "Of course, there will be adjustments in the strategy because it will be a new phase of the electoral process. But we are not worried at all. As a matter of fact, all of our strategy was based on thinking, before, of a second round."

The second round in the Brazilian election will be held October 27. Both Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and second-place winner Jose Serra, the favorite of the current government coalition, plan to make appeals to voters who backed other candidates in the first round. Both Anthony Garotinho and Ciro Gomes are left-of-center, which could give Lula an edge. Still, political analysts say Jose Serra has developed his own populist style and could still win over enough of those voters, to spoil Lula's fourth attempt to become president.

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