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Brazilians to choose new President
Brazilians to choose new President
Submitted On :
Nov 01, 2010
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Millions of voters lined up across Brazil's vast territory on Sunday in a heated presidential runoff pitting Dilma Rousseff, a former guerrilla-fighter-turned-chief-of-staff against Sao Paulo Governor Jose Serra.

Officials with Brazil's supreme electoral tribunal (TSE) said 135 million registered voters are expected to choose Brazil's next head of state.

Acording to Sunday's official polls (IBOPE), Rousseff, who is running on the PT Worker's Party ballot, is leading her opponent, PSDB party candidate Serra, with 56 percent of votes for Rousseff over 44 for Serra.

Rousseff -- President Luiz Inacio da Silva's right-hand woman -- has served as his chief of staff. Previously, as energy minister, she claims to have helped turn Brazil into one of the world's leading energy giants. A former left-wing guerrilla fighter during the military dictatorship rule in the 1960s, Rousseff said during a congressional hearing that she was "barbarically tortured" after she was charged with subversion by the military regime.

Her opponent, Jose Serra, also suffered persecution during Brazil's military rule and was forced into exile during the 1960s.

A centrist politician, he served as health minister during Fernando Henrique Cardoso's government. He recently left his job as governor of Brazil's richest state, Sao Paulo, to run for presidency.

TSE officials said votes are also coming in from Brazil's large overseas communities. So far, voting stations have closed in 16 cities in 27 nations.

Polls are slated to close at 5 p.m. Brazilian central time, and results will be announced around 7 p.m. (5 p.m. ET).

Voters living abroad correspond to about 0.15 percent of the Brazilian electorate, about 200,000.

In 60 Brazilian cities, voters are using their thumbs instead of ballots on a newly launched biometric system, where voters scan their fingers to log in and vote.

TSE officials said all regions, however remote, will have the ubiquitous electronic voting machine. In indigenous areas in the Amazon, these voting machines are delivered by boats and helicopters. It costs the state of Amazonas 5 million reais. (U.S. $3 million) to place the voting machines.

One of the most challenging trajectories, officials said, is the one to Sao Gabriel da Cachoeira, a densly-forested area in the Amazon.

"There, our electronic machines first leave Manaus by plane," said Pedro Batista, TSE Director for the Amazon.

"It's loaded onto a helicopter, and then travels by boat before being carried on someone's back for a long walk to a remote village," he said.

In Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city, voters faced heavy rains and threats of flooding.

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