Rousseff, rivals change tack in Brazil's reshaped election

jueves 21 de agosto de 2014 13:54 GYT

By Brian Winter and Anthony Boadle

SAO PAULO/BRASILIA Aug 21 (Reuters) - When Brazil's notoriously private President Dilma Rousseff showed up in her kitchen cooking pasta in a campaign TV ad this week, it was one of the clearest signs yet that the country's October election is up for grabs.

Rousseff and other candidates are shifting strategies and showing rarely seen sides of their personalities in what suddenly looks like a tight three-way race following this week's late entry of popular environmentalist Marina Silva.

Popular with young voters for her authenticity and tough stance on corruption, Silva joined the field following the death of her party's previous candidate in a plane crash.

Her presence forces Rousseff and other contenders to show a more human side of themselves - as in the kitchen scene - while also doubling down on the message that Brazilian voters most want to hear in this election: Change.

About two-thirds of Brazilian voters have said in polls they want change from their next government, reflecting broad disenchantment with a stagnant economy, corruption, and poor public services such as healthcare and education.

Silva's anti-establishment record, including her resignation from the ruling Workers' Party in 2009 following a dispute over Amazon deforestation, gives her enormous appeal for disgruntled voters, many of whom participated in huge street protests against the political elite last year.

A poll this week showed Rousseff in first place ahead of the Oct. 5 vote and Silva neck-and-neck for second with Senator Aecio Neves, a business-friendly candidate.

But Silva held a slight lead over Rousseff in the event of a second round runoff on Oct. 26, which polls show is likely.   Continuación...