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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Brazil’s Mantega says opposition win could wreck economy

August 29, 2014

Alonso Soto – Reuters, 8/28/2014

Brazil’s finance minister waded into the country’s presidential campaign on Thursday, warning that an opposition victory in the October election could push the economy into recession and undo a decade of social gains under the ruling Workers’ Party.

The comments by Guido Mantega, which the opposition and some analysts criticized as unbecoming of a sitting finance minister, came on the eve of the release of official data that is expected to show that Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, is already in recession.

Brazil’s once high-flying economy has slowed sharply in the last four years under President Dilma Rousseff, complicating her chances for re-election in October. Growth is now at a crawl, inflation is running high, and business confidence has evaporated, discouraging investment.

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Brazil enters recession in pre-election blow to Rousseff

August 29, 2014

Brian Winter – Reuters, 8/29/2014

Brazil suffered a recession in the first half of the year as investment plunged and the country’s hosting of the World Cup suffocated economic activity, a major blow to President Dilma Rousseff’s already diminishing hopes for reelection in October.

Latin America’s largest economy has suffered stagnant growth for more than three years under Rousseff’s left-leaning policies, which have dented consumer and business confidence and caused heavy losses for financial investors.

The economy took an even bigger downturn in the second quarter, contracting 0.6 percent from the first quarter, according to government statistics agency IBGE. The agency also revised down its estimate for first quarter activity to a 0.2 percent contraction, meaning the economy entered a recession.

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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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Rubber-tapper’s daughter on course to save Amazon and Brazil

August 28, 2014

James Hider – The Times, 8/28/2014

A year ago, Marina Silva, the orphan daughter of Amazon rubber-tappers, was struggling to garner enough votes to run as an independent for president.

She had quit the Green party for being too mainstream, even though she came third on their ticket in 2010. Without the requisite signatures to stand on her own, the devout evangelical Christian environmentalist agreed to become running mate for Eduardo Campos, the Socialist party candidate.

Polling at just 10 per cent, he was lagging far behind President Dilma Rousseff. When Mr. Campos died two weeks ago in a plane crash.

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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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