- Title: BRAZIL: Presidential candidates hold last debate before election
- Date: 31st October 2010
- Summary: RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (OCTOBER 29, 2010) (REUTERS) (*** FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY ***) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE JOSE SERRA ARRIVING AT AUDITORIUM SERRA ON STAGE BEFORE DEBATE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE DILMA ROUSSEFF ARRIVING AT AUDITORIUM ROUSSEFF LOOKING AROUND BEFORE DEBATE JOURNALISTS WORKING PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES SHAKING HANDS JOURNALISTS WORKING SERRA AND ROUSSEFF ON STAGE BEFORE DEBATE SERRA NODDING AND ROUSSEFF WAVING SERRA AT PODIUM BEFORE DEBATE CAMERAMEN FILMING SERRA AT PODIUM (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) JOSE SERRA, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, SAYING: "I have much hope and confidence that we can move Brazil forward regarding security, health, education and in the direction of a strong, solid economy that can guarantee and generate more jobs in the future." SERRA LEAVING ROUSSEFF TALKING ROUSSEFF ON STAGE (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) DILMA ROUSSEFF, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, SAYING: "The president of the republic must deal with the real and concrete lives of the people and not with number and abstract entities that don't have to do with the daily life nor experiences each Brazilian lives through." JOURNALISTS WORKING ROUSSEFF LEAVING
- Embargoed: 15th November 2010 12:00
- Location: Brazil
- Country: Brazil
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA54W3F0WZPKGHEFFRJCHYTBKI8
- Story Text: Brazil's Rousseff cruises through last TV debate focusing on the economy. Rousseff has regained momentum although debates have done little to change race.
Brazilian ruling party candidate Dilma Rousseff cruised through the final television debate with her presidential rival on Friday (October 29) as another poll showed her heading for a convincing win in Sunday's runoff election.
The debate on Globo television was in a "town hall" format with the candidates discussing questions from undecided voters, leaving little room for Serra to corner the former chief of staff of outgoing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
As she has throughout the campaign, Rousseff repeatedly stressed Brazil's huge economic strides under Lula, the wildly popular former union boss who hand-picked her to succeed him.
"The president of the republic must deal with the real and concrete lives of the people and not with number and abstract entities that don't have to do with the daily life nor experiences each Brazilian lives through," said Rousseff, the candidate of the left-leaning Workers' Party.
Rousseff, a 62-year-old career bureaucrat, leads Serra by a comfortable double-digit margin and is on track to become the first woman to be elected Brazil's president, opinion polls show.
Opposition candidate Jose Serra had a last chance to win over undecided voters on Brazil's most-watched channel, but he opted not to go on the attack in a debate that had no heated exchanges between the candidates.
A Datafolha survey released on Friday showed Rousseff holding steady with a 10-point lead. Rousseff had 50 percent of voter support compared to Serra's 40 percent. The previous Datafolha poll on Tuesday showed Rousseff leading Serra by 49 percent to 38 percent.
Former Sao Paulo state Governor Serra has failed to convincingly win any of the debates so far as Rousseff has fended off his attacks on her lack of experience and alleged involvement in graft scandals.
Serra used the debate to push his argument that Brazil should be doing better and is facing growing barriers to its growth, such as an expensive currency, a high tax burden and decrepit infrastructure.
Rousseff would have a 12-point lead, with 56 percent versus 44 percent for Serra, once blank and void ballots are excluded, as they are on election day, the new Datafolha poll showed.
Voting is mandatory in Brazil, but some leave their ballots blank to show dissatisfaction with the candidates.
Rousseff has regained momentum after a drop in support several weeks ago caused by doubts about her religious beliefs and her alleged involvement in corruption scandals.
If she wins, Rousseff is expected to continue Lula's mix of market-friendly policies and social programs while expanding the role of the state in some areas of the economy.
Datafolha surveyed 4,205 people on Thursday for the poll, which had a margin of error of 2 percentage points. Five percent plan to submit blank votes or not vote for either candidate, while 4 percent were undecided.
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