Brazil elections set for runoff between Rousseff, Neves

Anadolu Agency

SÃO PAULO — Brazil’s presidential election will go to a second round between incumbent president Dilma Rousseff and centre-right candidate Aécio Neves, the country’s Supreme Electoral Court told the Anadolu Agency (AA) on Sunday evening.

With nearly all of the country’s electronic votes counted, none of the 11 candidates can now reach the required 50-percent threshold, and a second round will be held on 26 October.

Rousseff, the Workers’ Party (PT) candidate who is seeking a second four-year term, took 41.5 percent of votes in Sunday’s presidential election by 10pm in Brasília — a first round she had been expected to win.

However, even with all remaining uncounted vote, she would now not be able to win the election outright, the court confirmed to the AA.

The election had been widely seen as a referendum on the last 12 years of Workers’ Party rule, particularly after the mass anti-government protests that saw over a million people take to the streets across Brazil last year.

With over 33.5 percent of votes, Neves — the Social Democracy Party (PSDB) candidate and market favorite — had far more support than any pre-election poll had predicted, despite surging to overtake former environment minister and Socialist Party (PSB) candidate Marina Silva on the eve of the election — the latest of many twists in this year’s dramatic race for the presidency.

Had Neves not gone through to the decider, it would have been the first time since 1989 without the traditional electoral tug-of-war between the Workers’ and Social Democracy parties.

Silva received around 21 percent of votes to take third place, and is therefore eliminated along with another eight presidential candidates.

Silva, who also came third in the 2010 presidential election, had shot through the polls after stepping up to run for president after the death of running mate Eduardo Campos, and at one stage appeared to threaten Rousseff’s re-election. However, support dwindled in the final stages of the first-round campaign.

The only other candidate to poll over one percent was left-wing PSOL party candidate Luciana Genro, who achieved around 1.5 percent of support.

The coming days are now key for the two remaining candidates to negotiate and redraw political battle lines, securing the support of eliminated candidates ahead of the second round in three weeks’ time.

A tight race between Rousseff and Neves is now expected; campaigning for the second round can begin from Monday evening.

State-level elections, which also saw Brazilians elect deputies, senators, state governors and state-level legislators saw the PSDB’s Geraldo Alckmin re-elected as São Paulo governor despite widespread concerns over the possibility of water rationing in the state.

The race for Rio governor will go to a second round.

Some 142.8 million Brazilian were eligible to vote in the compulsory presidential and general elections.

Officials say 55 candidates, of the 25,000 registered on the range of ballots, and some 1,362 voters were arrested over election-related crimes.

Voters also had to contend with issues with the electronic urns used to cast their ballots: over 5,000 of the electronic consoles had to be replaced, the top election court reported. There were also problems associated with the biometric system used to identify a record 22 million voters, leading to delays in some areas, including Niterói in Rio de Janeiro state.

However, the widely-praised system, which has been exported to other countries, still produced a fast election result overall.

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