President Dilma Rousseff has won Sunday's runoff election by a narrow margin ahead of opposition rival Senator Aécio Neves of the PDSB.
With 99.57% of the votes counted, Brazil's first female president garnered 51.59% of the votes versus 48.41% for the former governor.
“Thank you very much!” tweeted a grateful Rousseff whose triumph means that the Workers' Party will command the presidency for a fourth straight term.
Even though the runoff was the tightest election since 1989, Rousseff rejected the notion that “these elections have divided our country in half”.
“Instead of broadening our differences, I have the strong hope that we can create the conditions to unite,” she added.
According to opinion polls Rousseff and Neves have been running neck to neck since the first round was held three weeks ago. Most polls taken in recent days have given the incumbent a slight but growing advantage though a Senus survey published on Friday gave Neves a nine percent lead. (An October 13 Senus poll taken prior to his endorsement from ex-candidate Marina Silva had Neves up by double digits).
“I fought the good fight,” noted Neves in a speech govern shortly after he called Rousseff to his conceded the election. He also seemed to echo the victor’s remarks by noting, “The main priority is to unite Brazil and work on a project to dignify all Brazilians.”
Rousseff faced a very stiff challenge from Neves whose electoral pledges included boosting Brazil’s sagging economy and combating government corruption. His campaign could have received a significant boost when an article published in major newsmagazine Veja on Saturday alleged that she and predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva where fully aware of multimillion dollar bribe scheme at state-run oil giant Petrobras. Rousseff blasted the article as “barbaric” while Neves called the article an “attack against democracy.”
Since the first round of elections on October 5th, both Rousseff and Neves ran negative campaigns against one another that included comparing each other to Nazis. The president tried to tie Neves to past PDSB presidents who presided over times of hyperinflation, high employment and economic uncertainty. She also tried to emphasize that under her rule, public social programs have expanded to help pull millions of Brazilians out of poverty, get an education and reduce hunger.
"We need Dilma to continue the programs that improve the lives of those in need," said one voter, a university student in Sao Paulo. "I didn't vote for myself, but for the minorities and less fortunate classes."
In the Brazilian first presidential round the ruling party candidate won but not enough for an outright victory. This scenario may be repeating itself today in another South American country:
Exit polls in Uruguay say the candidate of President Jose Mujica's party has won most votes in the presidential election.
But Tabare Vazquez appears to have fallen short of the outright majority needed to avoid a second round.
Three polls predicted that Mr Vazquez of the Broad Front party will face Luis Lacalle Pou of the right-wing National Party next month…
Three separate exit polls showed Mr Vazquez winning with 44-46% of votes and Mr Lacalle Pou trailing behind with 31-34%.
Video Source – euronews via YouTube
If no candidate obtains the 50.1% needed to avoid a second round, Uruguayans will choose between the two leading candidates on 30 November.
Online Sources – BBC News; Reuters; The Latin Americanist; Folha.com; O Globo; Twitter