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

September 2, 2014

Paulo Sotero, 09/02/2014

Dilma_Rousseff

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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Brazil inflation: on the up again

September 19, 2014

Jonathan Wheatley – Financial Times, 9/19/2014

As Brazil’s polling day draws closer, another data point emerged on Friday for the voters’ consideration: consumer price inflation is back above the upper limit of the government’s target range and shows no sign of falling back soon.

The IBGE, Brazil’s statistics office, said CPI in the month to mid-September was 0.39 per cent, bringing the accumulated rate over the past 12 months to 6.62 per cent. That was above the consensus forecast of 0.35 per cent for the month, according to Bloomberg.

Inflation is running at its fastest rate in more than a year, just as the campaign for elections on October 5 heats up. Until recently, voters seem to have paid little attention to Brazil’s weakening economy, which was in recession in the first half of this year. But a wave of bad economic data may have contributed to the recent poor performance in opinion polls of Dilma Rousseff, hoping to be re-elected to the presidency, as voters make the connection between economic mismanagement and the woeful standard of Brazil’s public services, which brought thousands of protesters onto the streets last year.

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Arminio Fraga offers Brazil an orthodox path

September 19, 2014

Joe Leahy – Financial Times, 9/17/2014

Arminio Fraga’s assessment of what is wrong with Brazil explains why he is the market’s choice to be finance minister after next month’s election.

“There`s a clear feeling the government is lost, it has picked the wrong model,” Mr Fraga says in an interview at his office in Leblon, Rio de Janeiro, almost within hearing distance of the Atlantic waves crashing on to the city’s beaches a block or two away.

Mr Fraga advocates a return to economic orthodoxy. A former managing director with financier George Soros and Brazilian central bank president, who co-founded his own hedge fund Gavea Investimentos before selling it to JPMorgan, Mr Fraga is one of Brazil`s most respected economists. He is seen as the country’s version of Raghuram Rajan, the University of Chicago economist who became India’s central bank governor last year.

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Andres Oppenheimer: Brazilian election could help end country’s ‘paralysis’

September 19, 2014

Andres Oppenheimer – Miami Herald, 9/17/2014

Former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso confirmed this week something that many of us have suspected: If the opposition wins the Oct. 5 presidential election, there will be changes in Brazilian foreign policy that might affect all of Latin America.

Cardoso, who modernized Latin America’s biggest economy during his two terms from 1995 to 2003 and remains one of Brazil’s most respected politicians, told me in an interview that if opposition candidate Marina Silva wins, she would not give her unconditional support to Venezuela, Argentina and other leftist populist governments, as current President Dilma Rousseff has done.

According to the latest polls, no candidate is likely to win in the first round of voting. In a second round, scheduled for Oct. 26, Socialist Party candidate Silva would have 47 percent of the vote, while Rousseff, of the ruling Workers’ Party, would get 43 percent, according to an Ibope poll released Wednesday.

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Brazil’s Real Drops to Seven-Month Low as Silva’s Support Falls

September 19, 2014

Paula Sambo – Bloomberg, 9/19/2014

Brazil’s real fell to a seven-month low as a voter poll showed a drop in voter support for Marina Silva as President Dilma Rousseff defended her economic and fiscal policies before the October election.

The real dropped 0.4 percent to 2.3732 per U.S. dollar at 2:36 p.m. in Sao Paulo, extending this week’s decline to 1.5 percent, the biggest among 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg. Swap rates, a gauge of expectations for changes in borrowing costs, increased seven basis points, or 0.07 percentage point, to 11.70 percent on the contract due in January 2016 as a report showed inflation accelerated. They were up nine basis points since Sept. 12.

“Markets are not pleased with Rousseff gaining support,” Joao Paulo de Gracia Correa, a trader at Correparti Corretora de Cambio in Curitiba, Brazil, said in a telephone interview.

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Could Brazil Have The First ‘Green’ President Of A Major Economy?

September 19, 2014

Lourdes Garcia-Navarro – NPR, 9/18/2014

Marina Silva, Brazil’s former environment minister, tells a story about when she had her environmental awakening. She was young, the daughter of poor rubber tappers, living in an isolated community in the Amazon with seven siblings. Suddenly, building crews showed up outside her door, paving a road in the middle of the forest.

The men didn’t only bring a means of transport to the outside world — they also brought a malaria epidemic that killed two of her sisters and two other relatives.

“It made me write on my own flesh the consequences of what it meant to mess around with nature without giving the slightest attention to the need to look after it,” she told The Guardian in 2008.

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Brazil’s Marina Silva wants better US ties

September 18, 2014

Associated Press – The Independent, 09/17/2014

Marina Silva, a front-running presidential candidate who grew up in the Amazon jungle and could become the first black to lead Brazil’s government, said Wednesday that if elected she’ll improve ties with the U.S. and strongly push for human rights in nations like Cuba.

She spoke exclusively to The Associated Press in her first interview with a foreign media outlet since being thrust into Brazil’s presidential campaign after her Socialist Party’s original candidate died in an Aug. 13 plane crash.

Silva, a former Amazon activist, senator and environment minister who pushed policies that helped Brazil slash the rate at which it was destroying the jungle, has found herself at the center of a suddenly hot presidential race pitting her against President Dilma Rousseff, with whom she’s running in a dead heat in the latest polls. The incumbent represents the Workers Party, which Silva helped found three decades ago.

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Countdown begins for Brazil elections

September 18, 2014

CCTV America, 09/17/2014

It’s down to the wire in next month’s presidential election in Brazil. Incumbent Dilma Rousseff is battling her main rival Marina Silva. For the third time, the candidates appeared in a televised debate. As CCTV America’s Paulo Cabral reports from Sao Paulo, they know the slightest misstep could make a huge difference in what’s expected to be a close election.

The third televised debate was organized by Brazil’s Catholic Church. Clergymen and journalists from religious media asked the questions. And while the questioners were different, the main issues were not. As they did in the previous debates, the candidates talked about health, poverty, the economy and political reform.

President Dilma Rousseff stayed on message,focusing on her government’s accomplishments. Her main challenger is socialist candidate Marina Silva. Polls show the two women will likely square off in second round runoff in a race that’s too close to call.

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