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.