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Rousseff and Neves trade blows as Brazil election race gets personal

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Rousseff and Neves trade blows as Brazil election race gets personal
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In an increasingly tight race for the Brazilian presidency, the incumbent Dilma Rousseff and her rival Aecio Neves have been trading blows that are becoming more and more personal.

Both candidates have been swapping accusations of corruption and mismanagement ahead of next weekend’s presidential run-off.

In a TV debate the centre-right opposition candidate put Rousseff on the defensive over her alleged role in relation to bribery allegations at the state-run oil company.

A jailed executive appointed when Rousseff chaired the Petrobras board has claimed funds were funnelled to her Workers’ Party.

“I never obstructed the investigation into corruption at Petrobras. I never blocked the authorities from investigating, from looking into and verifying what was happening,” Rousseff said.

And she went on the offensive against Neves, accusing her rival of shelving investigations into senior politicians.

Neves stuck to his guns over the bribery claims.

“We need to make our companies professional, take them out of the political agenda because all this (corruption) is a consequence of the way the people are appointed (to high positions). They are nominated to work for the party of the president or for other parties,” he said.

Neves drew thousands of supporters to his final campaign rally at Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach.

But he is under pressure: after a surge in support around the time of the first-round vote, the latest surveys suggest the two candidates are virtually neck-and-neck.