Accessibility links

Breaking News

Da Silva's Choice Faces Run Off in Brazilian Election

Dilma Rousseff, presidential candidate for the Workers Party, next to a ballot box after voting during Brazil's general elections in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010.

razilian Workers' Party Candidate Dilma Rousseff came in first with in presidential elections on Sunday. But with about 47 percent of the vote, she fell short of the majority needed to win in a first round of voting. Nonetheless, analysts say the handpicked successor to Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is expected to become the country's first female leader, following a run-off later this month.

Throughout the campaign, Rousseff had been the favorite to win, largely because of her predecessor's enormous popularity in Brazil.

During Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's presidency, the economy has grown vigorously and tens of millions of Brazilians have been lifted out of poverty.

Analysts predict that Rousseff will defeat second place finisher Jose Serra in the run-off on October 31.

Some attribute the indecisive result in the first round to the better than expected performance of the third place finisher, Green Party candidate Marina Silva.

Rousseff addressed her supporters after the results were announced.

"I will face the second round with much enthusiasm and energy," she said.

In her youth, Rousseff led a group of left-wing guerrillas when Brazil was a dictatorship.

But as Mr. da Silva's chief of staff, she was credited with many of the pragmatic decisions that won his government praise from Brazilians.

The different views of the electorate were evident at a polling station in Rio de Janeiro's Ipanema district.

Sidney Silva, 39, is a resident of a favela, or slum, called Cantagalo, on the edge of Ipanema. He said he cast his ballot for Rousseff.

"I voted in favor of the continuation of a national project which President Lula started, in the hope that Brazil will continue this stage of growth," he said.

An older, middle class couple emerged from the polling station.

Dulce Correa Montero said she voted for Rousseff.

"I think she makes decisions in a good way. I see her as a thoughtful person in the way she takes them," she said.

Her husband, Raimundo, had a different opinion of the candidate.

"She is dangerous," he said. "She was a guerrilla and took up arms in the past. So you can't really trust her. And she was tortured, so she may be out for revenge."

Brazil endured two lengthy dictatorships in the 20th century, but has been a democracy for two-and-a-half decades.

The country's next leader will face a host of difficulties, including a substandard educational system and an outdated infrastructure that is strained by the country's rapid growth.