Brazil's top presidential candidates

Nine candidates are running for the Brazilian presidency but Dilma Rousseff and José Serra are well ahead of the pack.

DILMA ROUSSEFFParty: Workers Party (PT), candidate of the "So Brazil can keep on changing'' coalition led by the PT.Born: Dec. 19, 1947 in Belo Horizonte.Education: Attended the Federal University of Minas Gerais until she was expelled for her political activities; finished her degree in economics at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul.Personal: Daughter of a Bulgarian immigrant father and a school teacher mother; joined a militant group as a teenager; was later prosecuted as a "subversive," tortured and imprisoned for nearly three years. On her release, moved to Rio Grande do Sul and became involved in mainstream politics. Divorced, one daughter.Career: Chief of staff and energy minister in the Luíz Inácio da Silva administration; headed board of directors of Petrobras, the state-owned oil company; helped spearhead the Growth Acceleration Program as well as set the rules for Brazil's pre-salt oil deposits; first public position came when appointed head of the Municipal Secretary of Treasury in Porto Alegre (1986).

JOSE SERRAParty: Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB). Running on a coalition ticket headed by the PSDB.Born: March 19, 1942 in Sao Paulo.Education: Studied in Chile after going into exile; Cornell University: master's in economics (1976), Ph.D (1977) where his dissertation was "Some aspects of economic policy and income distribution in Chile 1970-1973;'' taught at Princeton University.Personal: Born into a working-class Italian immigrant family. As president of the left-leaning National Student Union attracted the attention of military authorities and went into exile for 14 years. Returned to Brazil in 1977. First attempt to run for political office was thwarted by the military. Married, two children.Career: Elected governor of the state of Sao Paulo (2006), mayor of Sao Paulo (2004). In 2002, he ran for the presidency; minister of health (1998-2002) and minister of planning (1995-96) during the administration of Fernando Henrique Cardoso; elected federal senator from Sao Paulo (1992); one of founders of PSDB (1988); elected federal deputy (1986, 1990); participated in writing 1988 constitution; has held various teaching positions. -- Mimi Whitefield