Rousseff looks to 'Lula effect' to win presidency

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Rousseff looks to 'Lula effect' to win presidency

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Brazilian presidential candidate Dilma Rousseff may not have won enough votes to seal victory in the first-round of the country’s election but she still has one important asset.

The support of the widely popular incumbent Lula da Silva, who has an 80 percent approval rating.

President Lula says he will campaign for his former chief of staff to ensure she beats her centre-right opponent Jose Serra in a runoff at the end of the month.

Rousseff, whose campaign was marred by a corruption scandal, told her supporters on Sunday night that she was “well-positioned” to win the second round.

The former Marxist guerilla won 46.9 percent of ballots counted on Sunday night, falling short of the 50 percent needed to win outright.

Serra, who won 32.6 percent, praised defeated Green Party candidate Marina Silva, who picked up a surprise 19.3 percent.

“I want to congratulate Marina Silva for contributing to the strength of Brazil’s democracy,” he said, appearing to appeal to the former environment minister for her support.

The result puts the 52-year-old Silva in the position of kingmaker and she will play a crucial role in deciding who will become president come October 31.

So far, she has declined to say who she and her supporters will be backing in that runoff in four weeks time.