UPDATE 4-Brazil's Rousseff, Neves race for support in election runoff

lunes 6 de octubre de 2014 19:32 GYT

(Updates with comments from Rousseff and Neves)

By Brian Winter and Anthony Boadle

SAO PAULO/BRASILIA Oct 6 (Reuters) - A tight runoff campaign for Brazil's presidency kicked off on Monday with leftist incumbent Dilma Rousseff and pro-business rival Aecio Neves racing to win over supporters of the third-placed candidate after she was knocked out of the election.

Neves, a centrist senator who had been widely written off until a few days before Sunday's first-round vote, rode a late surge in support to grab second place with 33.6 percent of the vote.

Rousseff led with 41.6 percent and they now face each other in an Oct. 26 runoff to decide Brazil's most unpredictable race in decades.

Rousseff remains a slight favorite as she has strong support among Brazil's poor but Neves is within striking distance and is expected to pick up most of the 21 percent of voters who backed the third-placed finisher, environmentalist Marina Silva.

Neves reached out to Silva on Monday, stressing the similarities of their proposals to reduce the size of government and free up private enterprise.

He said he was the candidate of change, a slogan dear to Silva who sought to end the horse-trading of Brazilian politics.

He also fired back at Rousseff, who said he represents the "ghosts of the past," a reference to an austerity drive, layoffs and the privatization of state assets when his Brazilian Social Democracy Party, or PSDB, last held power from 1995-2002.   Continuación...