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Aecio Neves, Brazilian Social Democracy Party presidential candidate, greets supporters while campaigning at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Oct. 19, 2014 (AP photo by Felipe Dana).

After Wild Campaign, Brazil Election Returns to Economy, Security

Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

A wild Brazilian presidential campaign is nearing an end, its zigzagging story lines returning to where they began: with the incumbent, President Dilma Rousseff, ahead. After the death of Socialist Party candidate Eduardo Campos in a plane crash in August, the emergence of his running mate Marina Silva as the new Socialist candidate briefly upended the race, and had many expecting a runoff between two female candidates—a first-ever in Brazil. But that never happened. Instead, Silva came in a distant third behind Rousseff’s center-right challenger, Aecio Neves of the Brazilian Social Democratic Party, who now trails Rousseff by just a few points before Brazilians go back to the polls Oct. 26.

Bringing the race back to square one is the fact that Brazil's fundamental problems still await the winner. Much of the focus has been on the flat economy: The central bank keeps cutting growth projections for 2014, most recently to 0.7 percent. But even as Rousseff and Neves spar over the welfare state and how best to attract foreign investment, questions over Sao Paolo’s relationship with Washington and ongoing security challenges at home are hardly backseat issues. ...

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