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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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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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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Marina gains momentum

September 2, 2014

J.P. – The Economist, 08/30/2014

“A PASSING wave.” That is how Aécio Neves, the presidential candidate of the centre-right Party of Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB), earlier this week dismissed the rising popularity of Marina Silva. Ms Silva was propelled to the top of the centrist Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) ticket in the wake of the tragic death in a plane crash two weeks ago of its leader and candidate, Eduardo Campos. “Groundswell” would have been a more appropriate description. Nor does it look like dissipating any time soon.

Support for Ms Silva, a former environment minister and green activist, has surged from 21% in the days immediately following the accident to 34%, according to a poll published on August 29th by Datafolha. With five weeks left before the election this pushes Mr Neves into distant third and puts Ms Silva neck and neck with President Dilma Rousseff, who had until now enjoyed a healthy first-round lead. In a second-round run-off, the Datafolha poll has Ms Silva beating the incumbent by ten percentage points.

The poll numbers can be explained in part by the spotlight shone on Ms Silva since Mr Campos’s death. She has been gazing upon voters from covers of most newspapers and magazines. Brazilians—20m of whom plumped for her in the 2010 presidential election, when she came a solid third—have been constantly reminded of her remarkable life story: a poor rubber-tappers’ daughter who only learned to read at 16 but went on to become a world-renowned environmentalist. On August 27th she was interviewed on Brazil’s main evening news, watched every night by an average of 36m people.

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Brazil’s Silva Taps Voter Discontent

August 29, 2014

John Lyons – The Wall Street Journal, 8/27/2014

Just over a year ago, a million Brazilians took to the street to vent displeasure with political corruption and poor government services. Now, they look poised to channel that frustration into the ballot box.

A late entrant in the campaign, Socialist Party candidate Marina Silva suddenly has become the undisputed leader in the October election by transforming the protest movement’s reservoir of discontent into potential votes.

A poll released late Tuesday by the Ibope research firm showed Ms. Silva defeating the incumbent Dilma Rousseff with 45% to 36% in a runoff. She looked every bit the front-runner later that evening with a strong performance in the first televised debate between candidates leading up to October’s elections.

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