Incumbent seen as winner in Brazil polls

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RIO DE JANEIRO: Marina Silva is losing ground in the race for the Brazilian presidency and may not even make the run-off, an opinion poll showed on Thursday (Friday in Manila), three days ahead of the vote.

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For the first time last week, polls put the environmentalist and Socialist Party candidate behind incumbent Dilma Rousseff in the event of a run-off, and put her neck-and-neck with Social Democrat Aecio Neves, who for weeks had been running a distant third.

But the latest poll by the Datafolha firm showed Silva was continuing to slip back, just when it matters most.

Silva only became the Socialist Party candidate after her running-mate Eduardo Campos died in an air crash. She got off to a strong start and a surge in support put her ahead in the polls, but she has since been losing momentum badly.

Brazil’s first round of presidential voting is on Sunday, after which a run-off is likely.

Datafolha put Rousseff in front on 40 percent of first-round voter intentions, and Silva down a point on just 24, compared to 21 for Neves, who was up one.

That left the pair within the 2-percent margin of error and Silva down 10 percent from a month ago.

Another poll on Thursday by Ibope had Rousseff once again ahead in the first round with 40 percent, but saw Silva as having a five-point advantage over Neves.

Datafolha interviewed 12,022 people in 433 cities on Wednesday and Thursday. Ibope asked 3,010 voters in 205 municipalities Monday through Wednesday.

Escalating violence

More than 22,000 police will hit the streets of Rio in the run-up to Sunday’s nationwide elections after a spike in urban violence left five people dead in three days.

Two of the dead were suspected drug traffickers shot and killed in two slum districts, underlining the huge challenge the authorities face in attempting to quell the street violence that continues to blight the 2016 Olympics host city.

Before that, police are focusing on Sunday’s potentially volatile presidential and general elections.

“We will double the number of officers on the streets,” Rio’s state secretary for security, Jose Mariano Beltrame, was quoted as saying by local media.

That will mean more than 22,000 security personnel on the streets of Rio on Saturday and Sunday to ensure the elections go off incident-free.

Beltrame said he believed criminals in the city’s favelas will seek to intensify unrest ahead of the polls.

“In 2010 we saw dozens of buses set ablaze in the city. The police are already working on the assumption that this kind of attack will reoccur,” said Beltrame.

AFP

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