Cardoso set for outright victory in Brazil elections

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The Independent Online
Brasilia - Brazil's free-market champion, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, was being hailed by newspapers as the new president as vote counting began yesterday. Exit polls from Monday's presidential election showed Mr Cardoso, an advocate of social reforms and opening up the economy, sweeping to victory by nearly 6 million votes more than those cast for all the other candidates combined. That meant Mr Cardoso, candidate of the Brazilian Social Democratic Party, would avoid a run-off with his nearest rival, the left-wing Luiz Inacio 'Lula' da Silva.

'FHC Is President,' the daily Folha de Sao Paulo said in a banner headline. And the capital's Correio Brasiliense proclaimed: 'Social Democracy Takes Power.' As Brazil began the slow process of counting paper ballots cast by nearly 95 million voters, the first results indicated Mr Cardoso far ahead. Final results are not likely for 15 days. Reuter