Brazil’s presidential vote will go to second round.
Voters headed to the polls early Saturday to choose between leftist Dilma Rousseff at the head of a ticket of candidates who are united by their rejection of the government’s unpopular pension reform, and right-wing candidate Jose Manual de Freitas.
Rousseff is seeking a second term in office for the first lady, a former teacher and social justice activist with broad appeal, but not enough to win outright. But her support is largely concentrated in the poor and socially marginalized.
An opinion poll carried out at the end of August, before the debate between the candidates, put her support at 52 percent.
The left, though, may be unable to overcome her conservative opponent.
“When we see that the right is not going to make gains, I think we have to be very realistic,” said Ana Maria Ribeiro, a 27-year-old business student who was leaning toward the right.
Rousseff’s campaign was boosted by former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s endorsement, which she has used to bolster hopes of a second term. Lula, Brazil’s former Workers’ Party leader and a socialist icon, is not running as an independent, but has publicly said he will not vote for Rousseff.
Freitas, meanwhile, was buoyed by Lula’s decision to endorse him. He had earlier indicated he would run on a ticket with Rousseff, but later changed his mind after she refused to accept the same terms as Lula.
Analysts predict the vote will be a decisive one, with a clear winner and a very tight race with very unpredictable results.
“All eyes are on the presidential vote. The two candidates are very similar,” said Marcelina Martins, a pollster at Datafolha. “So, I don’t expect it to be a big surprise either.”
The first round of voting will be held on Oct 3. If no one gets 40 percent plus one vote, the second round will be held on Oct 16. If no candidate takes