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Brazilians start voting to pick new president

Brazilians start voting to pick new president
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Brazilians have started to cast their vote in their country’s presidential election to choose a successor to incumbent Lula Da Silva.

Voting is compulsory for the 136 million people on Brazil’s electoral roll. Preliminary results are expected later Sunday evening.

President Lula’s hand-picked candidate, Dilma Rousseff, is tipped to win.

Rousseff, a former Marxist guerilla and Lula’s chief of staff, would become Brazil’s first female president.

The Green Party’s candidate, Marina Silva, could however scupper Rousseff’s bid to take the election in the first round.

Support for Silva, who is not related to the current head of state, has swelled in recent weeks.

Another frontrunner is centrist opposition leader Jose Serra.

The 68-year-old is a former mayor of Sao Paolo. He lost to Lula in the 2002 election. If no candidate achieves an overall majority, a runoff will be held on October 31st.

Lula steps down after eight years with an approval rating of 80 percent.

Under his leadership, Brazil has become the eighth-largest world economy and a major player in international politics.