Brazil Polls: Silva Gets More Than Sympathy

August 28, 2014

Dimitra DeFotis – Barron’s, 8/28/2014

Marina Silva has emerged as THE candidate to watch in emerging market politics.

As Brazil Socialist Party candidate, Silva has surged ahead of the current president and Worker’s Party candidate Dilma Rousseff in polls, especially in a potential runoff election. Brazilian Social Democracy Party candidate Aecio Neves seems sidelined.

But there are two signposts to watch: one, the approval level for Rousseff’s administration has increased from 32% to 34%. And, Silva could slip and reveal “some of the evident contradictions that already haunt her campaign … her fairly intolerant views on moral issues such as abortion or embryonic stem cell research combined with evidence of her acceptance of old-time politics,” writes Mario Marconini at Teneo Intelligence.

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Environmentalist Surges Ahead In Brazilian Presidential Polling

August 28, 2014

Nick Cunningham – Oilprice.com, 8/28/2014

Political change could be coming to Brazil. A new Ibope poll in Brazil shows that an unexpected challenger in the 2014 presidential election would defeat incumbent President Dilma Rousseff in a hypothetical run-off.

Rousseff was once thought to be in a strong position for reelection, but Marina Silva, an ardent environmentalist, has vaulted to the front of the pack.

The daughter of a rubber tapper, Silva had humble beginnings. She grew up poor and was illiterate until she was a teenager. But after years of activism in union politics, Silva was eventually elected senator from her home state of Acre.

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Brazil’s Silva winning over investors in presidential race

August 28, 2014

Walter Brandimarte – Reuters, 8/27/2014

Investors are warming up to a possible victory by Marina Silva in Brazil’s presidential election as the popular environmentalist emerges as their best shot at avoiding four more years of a government they strongly dislike.

Disdain for President Dilma Rousseff’s leftist policies runs so deep in Brazilian financial markets that one comment making the rounds there says: “Marina is like Russian roulette, but Dilma is like a fully-loaded revolver.”

It captures the mistrust that many investors feel toward Silva, whose history of volatile decisions, lack of executive experience and emphasis on eco-friendly policies, even at the possible expense of economic growth, have all raised red flags.

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Family Saga Shows Brazil Student Funds Curb Joblessness

August 28, 2014

Matthew Malinowski and Anna Edgerton – Bloomberg News, 8/27/2014

Francisco Melo started working at age seven to help feed his 10 brothers and sisters on a Brazilian farm and went to school for only a few days. Jefferson, his 17-year-old son, never worked and attends technical school.

Their saga ties in with the story of 11 million Brazilians who gained access to higher education through state-funded initiatives in the past decade. It’s behind the longest contraction in Brazil’s labor force in at least 12 years, explaining how the unemployment rate is at a record low under President Dilma Rousseff even as job creation slows.

Programs that provide free work training, scholarships and subsidized student loans are buoying Rousseff’s campaign as she runs for re-election in October after delivering the slowest growth of any Brazilian president in more than two decades. The initiatives are creating a windfall for education providers and are shielding Rousseff from attacks that her economic stewardship has failed as rivals creep up in polls.

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Brazil Vows Water Supply Is Under Control as Basins Dry

August 28, 2014

Vanessa Dezem – Bloomberg, 8/28/2014

The state of Sao Paulo is facing its worst drought in eight decades, threatening the water supplies for 20 million people — but you wouldn’t know that by asking Brazil’s elected officials.

Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin, who is seeking re-election in October, has been minimizing the crisis for the region, which includesSouth America’s largest city. The reaction is a far cry from the response in drought-stricken California, where Governor Jerry Brownhas declared a state of emergency and residents are being fined for watering their lawns.

Sao Paulo state is already rationing water for more than 2 million people in 18 cities. The capital city’s main reservoir is now at only 12 percent of capacity, according to the water utility Cia. de Saneamento Basico do Estado de Sao Paulo, known as Sabesp. While the utility received a warning at the end of July that it risks running out of drinking water in 100 days, officials vow the situation is under control.

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Meet The Multimillionaire Banking Heir Who Is Backing Brazil’s Marina Silva Presidential Bid

August 27, 2014

Anderson Antunes – Forbes, 8/27/2014

Brazil’s presidential elections were turned upside down two weeks ago when a fatal jet crash killed presidential candidate Eduardo Campos. Campos’ running mate Marina Silva replaced him on the ticket and is already leading in the polls. Investors from around the world are watching Silva, an environmental leader who placed third in the 2010 presidential election as a then Green Party (PV) candidate, with nearly 20% of the votes. (Silva has since left PV to found a new party, the “Sustainability Network,” but it failed to achieve the required number of signatures from new members and was ineligible to register with the Electoral Court.)

Last October, 56-year-old Silva was invited by Eduardo Campos to form a ticket to run for the presidency, and joined the PSB as Campos’ vice-president his the presidential bid. After his tragic death, Silva was the natural choice to replace him, though she has made it clear that as soon as her party gets legalized she will leave the PSB.

The simple fact that she could win the election has had a positive impact on the markets. The consensus is that anything is worth it to oust Rousseff and revive Brazil’s economy, which has been hit by slow growth and high inflation due to left-leaning policies. Shares of the Bovespa rose to an 18-month high last week on increasing hopes of a victory for Silva or Aecio Neves, the main opposition candidate, both of whom say they would intervene less in the economy and be friendlier to business.

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Marina Silva Shines In Brazil’s First Presidential Campaign Debate

August 27, 2014

Brazil Socialist Party candidate Marina Silva, now the front-runner in the nation’s presidential race, according to polls, added to her momentum with a strong showing in the first televised campaign debate Tuesday.

Ms. Silva, who officially entered the race only a week ago, came out swinging. She attacked incumbent President Dilma Rousseff for failing to respond to massive street protests last year by Brazilians demanding better government and public services. And she criticized her other main opponent, Aecio Neves, a pro-business candidate with the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, for his record on education as governor as the state of Minas Gerais.

A frequent target of direct questions from the other six candidates participating in the debate, Ms. Silva made the most of the opportunity. She spoke repeatedly and confidently about her wish for inclusive government that would improve education, public safety and health care.

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