Marina’s rise, not unforeseen, changed the outlook of Brazil’s October presidential elections

September 2, 2014

Paulo Sotero, 09/02/2014


With one month left in Brazil’s presidential and general election campaign, environmental leader Marina Silva emerged as the opposition’s strongest challenger to President Dilma Rousseff and to the continuation of the twelve-year rule of the Workers’ Party. A Datafolha poll released Saturday, August 30, showed Silva, known as Marina, tied with Rousseff in the first round of votes on October 5th and ten points ahead in the runoff scheduled for October 26th.

The phenomenal rise of the former senator and Environmental Minister from a frustrated politician without party affiliation as of late last year to a leading candidate started, unpredictably, with the tragic death of presidential candidate Eduardo Campos. Campos, a popular former governor whom Marina joined after a failed attempt to create her own political party, died in an airplane crash on August 13th.

The potential success of Marina’s political career was not, however, unforeseen. She received an impressive 20% of votes in 2010, when she first ran for president as candidate of the small Green Party, after leaving the Workers’ Party. More recently, political analysts viewed Marina as the principal political beneficiary of massive street protests that erupted in June 2013 in dozens of Brazilian cities, to the surprise of the government, the opposition and the media.

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The Brazil Institute mourns the death of Governor Eduardo Campos

August 13, 2014
Eduardo Campos

Eduardo Campos

The Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute mourns the untimely passing of Eduardo Campos, former governor of the state of Pernambuco and candidate of the Brazilian Socialist Party in Brazil’s October presidential elections. The 49 year old Campos died tragically this morning when the executive jet carrying him and a few advisers crashed in bad weather in the port city of Santos, state of São Paulo. He is survived by his wife Renata and five children.

A promising politician of the first generation of Brazilian leaders to emerge after the reinstatement of democracy in 1985, Campos was a federal congressman and minister of Science and Technology during the first government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva before successfully running for governor of his home state, in Brazil’s Northeastern region. He was the grandson of Miguel Arraes de Alencar, a founder of the Socialist party and twice governor of Pernambuco. Campos rose to national prominence in 2010, when he was reelected governor with a record 82 percent of votes. In September of last year, Campos’ party withdrew from the coalition led by President Dilma Rousseff. Read the rest of this entry »

Why recession won’t affect the result of Brazil’s presidential election

September 2, 2014

J.P. – The Economist, 09/01/2014

Recession is never good news for an administration. And in the run-up to a general election it can be a death knell. With five weeks to go before polling day, Brazil’s opposition must therefore have quietly rejoiced at official data released on August 29th, showing that GDP had dipped by 0.6% in the second quarter and by 0.2% in the first. Yet the dismal figures may not matter as much to electoral calculus as President Dilma Rousseff’s rivals would have hoped. Why is that?

Ms Rousseff blames the contraction on weak global recovery from the 2009 financial crisis, as well as a “surfeit of public holidays” (and thus fewer working days) during the month-long football World Cup in Brazil, which concluded on July 13th. These extra holidays were added by the authorities in a bid to ease pressure on public transport in World Cup host cities. But critics point out that this does not explain the fall in output during the first three months of the year—and the government had previously promised a Copa-related economic bonanza. Of the 45 countries which have reported second-quarter GDP so far, only war-torn Ukraine has fared worse.

Instead, Ms Rouseff’s critics blame the slowdown on flagging business confidence and falling investment as a result of her interventionism, fiscal laxity and failure to address chronic problems: the shoddy infrastructure, tangles of red tape and arguably the world’s most convoluted tax system.

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Brazil’s Silva looks presidential, but not a shoo-in

September 2, 2014

Brian Winter – Reuters, 09/01/2014

Popular environmentalist Marina Silva looks capable of winning Brazil’s presidential election in October but a major campaign gaffe and mounting attacks from other candidates and the media suggest the race is still wide open.

Polls have shown Silva with a lead of about 10 percentage points over President Dilma Rousseff if the Oct. 5 election goes to a runoff, as seems likely. Silva’s meteoric rise has led Brazilian stocks to rally 10 percent in the last three weeks on hopes she would be more business-friendly than Rousseff and help stir a stagnant economy.

In the last week, Silva has successfully begun to address some of the doubts voters have about her – namely, whether she has the personal gravitas and organizational support to govern this continent-sized nation of 200 million people.

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Will Brazil elect Marina Silva as the world’s first Green president?

September 2, 2014

Jonathan Watts – The Guardian, 08/30/2014

It started with the national anthem and ended with a rap. In between came a poignant minute’s silence, politicised football chants and a call to action by the woman tipped to become the first Green national leader on the planet.

The unveiling in São Paulo of Brazilian presidential candidate Marina Silva’s platform for government on Friday was a sometimes bizarre mix of tradition and modernity, conservatism and radicalism, doubt and hope: but for many of those present, it highlighted the very real prospect of an environmentalist taking the reins of a major country.

In a dramatic election that has at times seemed scripted by a telenovelawriter, Silva has tripled her coalition’s poll ratings in the two weeks since she took over from her predecessor and running mate, Eduardo Campos, who was killed in a plane crash. Following a strong performance in the first TV debate between candidates, polls suggest she will come second in the first-round vote on 5 October and then beat the incumbent, Dilma Rousseff, in the runoff three weeks later.

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Brazilian President Criticizes Marina Silva’s Political Platform

September 2, 2014
TeleSUR - 09/01/2014
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff claims that Marina Silva’s industrial policies will negatively impact employment. During a press conference at the Brazilian presidential palace, President Dilma Rousseff criticized the policies of her opponent Marina Silva on Sunday leading up to the presidential elections in October, claiming that Silva’s political platform would greatly hurt the country’s domestic industrial sector and could potentially lead to widespread unemployment.

“After reviewing her political proposals, I am very concerned particularly with regards to the creation of employment and industrial policy,” Rousseff said.

In particular, Rousseff questioned her presidential candidate rival’s proposal with regards to providing fiscal incentives to certain industrial sectors, stating that such measures “are only effective in particular cases not as general rule of thumb.”

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Brazil’s Marina Silva Reverses on LGBT Rights Overnight

September 2, 2014

Geoffrey Ramsey – The Pan-American Post, 09/01/2014

Marina Silva’s odds of winning Brazil’s presidential election in October are looking better and better. As the AP notes, Friday brought some bad news for President Dilma Rousseff’s re-election campaign in the form of a one-two punch: not only is the economy now officially in a recession, but polls show support for Silva is continuing to rise.

According to the latest Datafolha survey, support for Silva increased by 13 points in two weeks, with the poll showing both her and Rousseff tied in the first round with 34 percent of the vote. In a second-round matchup, however, Datafolha found that Silva would beat the president by ten points, 50 to 40 percent.

Also on Friday, Silva released her official electoral platform, outlining her position on a range of issues in a 244-page document. The program contains a number of interesting proposals, like putting an end to re-election and gradually increasing healthcare spending to 10 percent of GDP. On economic issues, Silva promised to lower the country’s tax burden and give more autonomy to Brazil’s central bank, which has earned her support among the business community.

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Rival Brazil Candidates Train Fire on Silva After Poll Rise

September 2, 2014

Raymond Colitt and Anna Edgerton – Bloomberg, 09/01/2014

Marina Silva’s rise to the top of opinion polls in Brazil’s presidential race has forced her rivals to step up criticism of her proposals on such subjects as energy, gay rights and economic policy.

President Dilma Rousseff, whose lead over Silva vanished in less than two weeks, said in a televised debate today the former environment minister hasn’t said how she would finance increased spending on public services. Senator Aecio Neves, who trails third in polls, mocked Silva’s change in posture on economic policy, saying her proposals were contradictory.

With discourse that taps into widespread discontent and positions that are friendly to business and investors, Silva has become the focal point of the campaign since she entered the race Aug. 20. Having presented her government platform on Aug. 29, she is now subject to scrutiny by media and rivals who will test her resilience in polls, said David Fleischer, a University of Brasilia professor who follows Brazilian politics.

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