September 29, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Brazil President Dilma Rousseff, in a close race for re-election, is touring the main venue for Rio de Janeiro's 2016 Olympic Games with voting just days away.

Local organizing committee officials say Rousseff will visit the site of the Olympic Park on Tuesday with Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes and International Olympic Committee inspectors in town checking progress on the venue construction, which has been slow getting started but now appears to be moving at a quicker pace.

Brazil is spending about $20 billion to prepare the city for the games, a mix of private and public money.

Rousseff is running even leading into the election with Marina Silva, who would be the first black woman to lead Brazil's government if she wins election. First-round voting is Sunday with the likely decisive second round set for Oct. 26.

The Olympic Park is located in the Rio suburb of Barra da Tijuca, one of four venue clusters spread around a city chopped up by mountains, tunnels and poor roads.

Rousseff's appearance gives her a chance to be linked to the Olympics. However, it may also raise questions why the country, which just entered into recession, spent about $11 billion to host this year's World Cup - and is laying out almost twice that much for the Olympics.

The government statistics bureau has reported that gross domestic product dropped 0.6 percent in the second quarter. First-quarter results also were revised downward from 0.2 percent growth to a 0.2 percent drop, showing a two-quarter slide that most economists use to define a recession.

Analysts say the economy is also suffering because investors are holding off, waiting to see if the election changes the economic outlook.

The economy was also hurt by the World Cup with workers taking extra vacation time, and businesses and banks closing early - all linked to a drop in productivity.

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Stephen Wade on Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP

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