SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – A former Marxist guerrilla chosen by Brazil’s beloved leader to succeed him will face a centrist rival in a presidential runoff after failing to get enough votes to win Sunday’s election outright, according to official results.
Dilma Rousseff, a 62-year-old career bureaucrat trying to become Brazil’s first female president on the ruling Workers Party ticket, captured 46.8 percent of the vote but needed 50 percent to win in the first round of balloting.
Former Sao Paulo state governor Jose Serra got 32.6 percent support, while Green Party candidate Marina Silva got a surprising 19.4 percent. The results came with 99.6 percent of the votes counted, according to Brazil’s Supreme Electoral Court.
The runoff election on Oct. 31 will pit Serra against Rousseff, who analysts say will be the heavy favorite, though a series of recent scandals could hurt the ruling party candidate.
Rousseff is the personal choice of outgoing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, universally known as Lula, who led Brazil to unparalleled economic growth, increased the nation’s political clout on the global stage, and leaves office with 80 percent approval ratings.
Explosion injures 15 in Mexico plaza
MONTERREY, Mexico – An explosion at a plaza in northeastern Mexico injured 15 people, an attack authorities blamed Sunday on drug cartels targeting the civilian population to cause chaos.
Police believe the attackers threw a grenade Saturday night at the main square in the town of Guadalupe, but were still trying to confirm the type of explosive. Six children, the youngest 3 years old, were among the injured, said Francisco Gonzalez, the state deputy health director. He said the injuries were not life-threatening.
It was the fourth such attack in two days in the area around the city of Monterrey, which has been reeling from a turf war between the Gulf and Zetas drug gangs.
Iran, Egypt resuming flights
CAIRO – Iran and Egypt, two countries that long have been openly hostile to each other, made a surprise agreement Sunday to resume direct flights for the first time since radical clerics ousted Iran’s monarchy in 1979.
Civil aviation and tourism authorities meeting in Cairo signed an accord to begin 28 weekly flights between the two countries but did not specify a start date, media in both countries reported.
The pronouncement baffled observers. The two countries back opposing political camps in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, lack full diplomatic ties and continually snipe at each other. But Iran’s pro-government Fars news agency described the deal and a visit by an Iranian trade delegation to Cairo as “a prelude to the resumption of ties between the two countries.”