By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – More than 142 million Brazilians went to the polls on Sunday and more than a few surprises were registered. Although polls over the weekend pointed to a slight lead of Aecio Neves of the PSDB (Social Democracy Party) over Marina Silva of the PSB (Socialist Party) to go up against incumbent president Dilma Rousseff of the PT (Workers Party) in the second round of elections later this month, the final tally surprised many. With 99 percent of the votes counted Rousseff obtained 41.59 percent, Neves 33.55 percent and Silva 21.32 percent.
Perhaps one of the most surprised of all was the PSDB candidate, “All the numbers throughout Brazil are well above expectations.” In a speech after polls closed Neves said that his government project and campaign was not longer a party project, but ‘proposals by Brazilian society as a whole’.
Dilma Rousseff spoke at her campaign headquarters on Sunday and told supporters she ‘understood’ what the voters were telling her.
“I believe that the Brazilian people seek more advances and sees my administration’s projects as the most legitimate and reliable source for these changes,” stated Rousseff. The incumbent leader promised to make all the ‘necessary changes’ so that the quality of life of the Brazilian people ‘improve even further’.
Marina Silva said the results of the elections showed that Brazilians wanted change. According to the candidate the fact that almost sixty percent of voters cast their ballot for opposition candidates shows that the country ‘clearly does not agree with what we have now’.
The third placed candidate thanked her supporters and family and said she was proud of her candidacy. “At this moment I do not walk out of here as defeated but as someone who continues to stand because she did not have to give up her principles to win an election.”
In Sunday’s general elections voters also chose 27 state governors, one-third of the Senate and all 513 representatives of the Chamber of Deputies. While in Rio de Janeiro the gubernatorial race will go to a second round of voting later on this month, between incumbent Luiz Fernando Pezão and Marcelo Crivella, São Paulo state elected incumbent Geraldo Alckmin in the first round with over 57 percent of the votes.
Former soccer star, Romario, was elected senator of Rio de Janeiro with over sixty percent of the votes. Impeached president, Fernando Collor de Mello was also re-elected to the senate by the state of Alagoas.
According to the TSE (Superior Electoral Court) 9.64 percent of votes in Sunday’s elections were null or blank (where voters choose to leave ballot blank) and 19.39 percent of voters did not show up at polling stations.