Brazil presidential candidate Neves frontrunner on change promise

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RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazilian presidential hopeful Aecio Neves on Thursday insisted his proposals would transform the country, while lambasting the ruling party embroiled in deepening allegations of corruption involving state-owned oil giant Petrobras.

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“I am the candidate of the forces of change,” Neves told reporters in Rio as he awaited the expected support of environmentalist Marina Silva, whom he beat in last Sunday’s first round.

Silva, whose voters are now key to the outcome of this month’s run-off, had been expected to announce her support Thursday.

But she delayed the decision as she and her advisors map out concessions they want from Neves, mainly on the environment and political reform as well as Indian land rights.

“I cannot speculate on a decision which is not mine to make,” Neves said in allusion to Silva, whose endorsement could swing enough votes his way to secure a victory — a prospect that looked within reach as the latest polls showed him edging just ahead of Rousseff by 46 percent to 44.

The polls, by Ibope and Datafolha, have a two percent margin for error, meaning the two candidates are in a technical dead heat.

“We mustn’t create a fantasy — that would be dishonest,” said Neves, insisting he had his program featuring some political reform and more economic orthodox liberalism which 35 million people voted for at the weekend.

Workers Party (PT) incumbent Dilma Rousseff beat Social Democrat Neves, the grandson of a former president, in the first round vote.

AFP

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