Sao Paulo: The candidates in Brazil`s presidential runoff hurled charges of lying and nepotism at each other in their first televised debate Tuesday.
President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers Party and pro-business candidate Aecio Neves are in a statistical dead heat as they vie to lead the world`s seventh largest economy and Latin America`s largest country.
Rousseff fired off a volley of statistics as she attacked her Social Democrat opponent over his two terms as governor of the southeast state of Minas Gerais.
In that time, health care worsened and the state is now one of the South American giant`s most heavily indebted, the incumbent said.
But Neves fought back in the first of four televised debates ahead of the runoff on October 26. The first round was October 5.
"Those numbers are not true. Not telling the truth has been a staple of your campaign," Neves said.
Rousseff also accused her opponent of nepotism, saying Neves had found jobs in the state for his sister, his uncle and six cousins.
"I challenge you to tell me where my sister works," Neves answered. "Your propaganda is lie after lie. It is not true," he said.
The president also charged that Neves` policy proposals were simply a continuation of those of her party, which has made much progress in lifting poor Brazilians into the middle class.