World

After drama-filled presidential campaign, Brazilians prepare to cast votes in Sunday election

  • Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, who is running for re-election with the Workers Party, blows a kiss to supporters at a campaign rally in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Brazil will hold general elections on Oct. 5. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)

    Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, who is running for re-election with the Workers Party, blows a kiss to supporters at a campaign rally in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Brazil will hold general elections on Oct. 5. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)  (The Associated Press)

  • Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, who is running for re-election with the Workers Party, greets supporters at a campaign rally ahead of Sunday's general elections in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. The photo under her is based on her 1970 police mug shot when she was arrested for being a member of an armed Marxist guerrilla group that resisted Brazil's 1964-85 military dictatorship, for which she was imprisoned and tortured. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)

    Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, who is running for re-election with the Workers Party, greets supporters at a campaign rally ahead of Sunday's general elections in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. The photo under her is based on her 1970 police mug shot when she was arrested for being a member of an armed Marxist guerrilla group that resisted Brazil's 1964-85 military dictatorship, for which she was imprisoned and tortured. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)  (The Associated Press)

  • Marina Silva, presidential candidate of the Brazilian Socialist Party, PSB, greets supporters at a campaign rally in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Silva, who grew up as one of eight children of an impoverished rubber tapper on a plantation deep in Brazil's Amazon, went on to become a local lawmaker, senator, and then Environment Minister during the presidency of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Today Silva is running for president in Brazil's Oct. 5 general elections. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

    Marina Silva, presidential candidate of the Brazilian Socialist Party, PSB, greets supporters at a campaign rally in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Silva, who grew up as one of eight children of an impoverished rubber tapper on a plantation deep in Brazil's Amazon, went on to become a local lawmaker, senator, and then Environment Minister during the presidency of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Today Silva is running for president in Brazil's Oct. 5 general elections. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)  (The Associated Press)

If anything, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is a survivor.

The former political prisoner has lived through cancer, endured raucous, anti-government protests and brushed past critics to pull off a successful World Cup. She's even held onto wide support as Brazil's economy sputtered into recession.

Sunday's presidential election determines the outcome of what may be her most surprising challenge yet: the unexpected rise of Marina Silva. The Amazon-born environmentalist was thrust into the presidential race when a plane crash killed her party's top candidate.

Just weeks ago, polls suggested Rousseff and Silva would advance to a runoff vote that Silva was likely to win. But Rousseff fought back aggressively by raising doubts about Silva's qualifications and the latest polls show Rousseff once again with a strong lead.