Election campaigning begins in Brazil with Rousseff expected to win second term
Agence France-Presse in Brasilia
Playing second fiddle to the injury woes of soccer star Neymar and the host country's bid for World Cup glory, Brazil has launched campaigning for October 5 general elections.
The nation of 200 million will hold elections for the presidency, Congress, state governorships and state legislatures, and Saturday night marked the deadline for candidates to register.
Opinion polls make leftist President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers Party (PT) favourite to win a second term, albeit in a likely run-off, leaving rivals Social Democratic candidate Aecio Neves and Socialist Eduardo Campos trailing.
With the passing of Saturday's deadline, the candidates can take to the streets to press the flesh and hold functions, as well as campaign online. Television and radio advertising is only permitted from August 19.
A poll last week showed Rousseff with a 38 per cent vote share, up four points, with the World Cup - which has generally passed off successfully - giving her an apparent boost.
Rousseff said she knew a tough political battle lay ahead.
"I think this is going to be one of the most politicised campaigns in our history," she said, indicating she would seek to enact "the wide-ranging reforms that Brazil needs and will help us to effect great changes."
Neves was up one point at 20 per cent while Campos, whose running mate is ecologist Marina Silva, added two points but is only on course for a 9 per cent vote share, according to Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper. But the Globo daily showed Rousseff struggling to hold support from two million urban lower middle class voters who previously voted for her PT predecessor, two-term former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whom she replaced in January 2011.
Rousseff has had to battle 12 months of protests against the US$11 billion-plus cost of staging the World Cup, with many citizens complaining the cash would have been better spent on poor transport infrastructure, education and health.