Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff is emerging as the slight favourite ahead of Sunday’s election decider.
The incumbent has been comforted by several opinion polls giving her a slight edge over her rival Aecio Neves.
Rousseff’s last week of campaigning before the presidential vote has taken her to Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro, and to a car factory at Pernambuco in northern Brazil with her Workers’ Party predecessor, ex-president Inacio Lula Da Silva.
In a campaign speech, Rousseff accused Neves of wanting to privatise state-run banks.
“Who wants to diminish the role of public banks?” she asked. “That idea only interests those who have a very narrow vision of the reality of Brazil, or those who want to develop a private sector that has no interest in financing social programmes.”
Rousseff’s centrist opponent insists he will preserve those programmes while curbing spending and taming inflation.
The challenge for Aecio Neves is to convince voters that what he touts as business-friendly policies will not penalise workers.
Campaigning at Mato Grosso do Sul in southwestern Brazil, Neves again accused Rousseff of mismanaging the economy and doing nothing as a corruption scandal engulfed Brazil’s largest company.
“Everyone is responsible for their own actions and the fact is that during these last 12 years of Workers’ Party governments, a gang has systematically embedded itself throughout those 12 years, holding onto a base of government support,” he said.
One opinion poll suggests Brazilians who are turned off by the negative tone of the campaign blame the challenger more than they do the current president.
Another problem for Neves is that many voters say they are increasingly confident that the economy is looking up – and may be more inclined to stick with Rousseff.