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Leftist Silva Leads Brazil Race

October 27, 2002

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SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) _ Former union leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had a commanding lead in Brazil’s presidential vote Sunday, according to an exit poll.

Silva, of the leftist Workers Party, garnered 63 percent of the ballot, according to a survey of 52,170 voters by pollsters Ibope and broadcast on Brazil’s GloboNews network. Ibope polled voters in 489 cities and towns and gave the margin of error as 2 percent.

Government-backed candidate Jose Serra had 37 percent of the valid votes, discarding blank and voided ballots, the poll showed.

A victory by Silva, who led by a wide margin in pre-election polls, would mark a historic shift to the left for Brazil, which has never elected a leftist president. Brazil’s last leftist president was Joao Goulart, a vice president who assumed power in 1961 when the centrist president resigned. Goulart served 2 1/2 years and was deposed by a right-wing military coup.

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