Insight: Brazil’s slump hits job market as election approaches

August 25, 2014

Brad Haynes and Silvio Cascione – Chicago Tribune, 8/22/2014

Many of Brazil’s biggest retailers, homebuilders and carmakers are cutting jobs as Latin America’s largest economy teeters on the edge of recession, a fresh blow to President Dilma Rousseff’s re-election bid.

For years, low unemployment was key to Brazil’s emergence as an economic power and important gains in the fight against poverty.

The unemployment rate remains near record lows of around 5 percent and the leftist Rousseff regularly touts it as a success of the ruling Workers’ Party over the last 12 years.

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LatamWatch: Brazil Presidential Poll, First Debate Tues

August 25, 2014

Charles Newbery, James Young and Daniel Horch – MNI News, 8/25/2014

Brazil’s presidential race enters the stretch this week, six weeks before the October 5 vote, with a new poll and the first presidential debate, both Tuesday.

This poll will be the first since Marina Silva became the PSB party’s official candidate after the death of its original standard-bearer, Eduardo Campos, in a plane crash August 13. A poll last week showed her in second place in the first round of voting, ahead of market favorite Aecio Neves, then defeating President Dilma Rousseff in a runoff round October 26.

But the poll’s margins were slim, and Silva may have been benefitting from sympathy over Campos’ death. She also has not yet faced any attacks from the other candidates, and recently discord in her party, which she joined only a few months ago, has emerged.

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Brazil’s presidential campaign

August 22, 2014

The Economist (print edition), 8/23/2014

IN HIS presidential bid Eduardo Campos, the former governor of Pernambuco, set out to break the mould of Brazilian politics, polarised between the ruling left-wing Workers’ Party (PT) of President Dilma Rousseff and the centre-right Party of Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB), the main opposition. By cruel irony, Mr Campos’s untimely death in a plane crash on August 13th may have improved the chances of a “third way” in October’s election.

A poll by Datafolha taken after the tragedy and published on August 18th gave Mr Campos’s running-mate, Marina Silva, more than double his most recent showing (see chart). On August 20th Campos’s centrist Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) duly blessed Ms Silva as his replacement, naming Beto Albuquerque, one of its congressmen, as her running mate.

Ms Silva is better known than Mr Campos was, thanks to her run at the presidency as a protest candidate in 2010, when she came third with nearly 20m votes. A daughter of poor rubber-tappers in the Amazon region, she is a founder of Brazil’s environmental movement as well as of the PT. She served as environment minister under Ms Rousseff’s predecessor and mentor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, until resigning in 2008 over ungreen development projects pursued by other ministries.

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Silva Attacks Rousseff’s Record to Start Brazil Presidential Bid

August 21, 2014

Maria Sergio Lima – Bloomberg, 8/20/2014

Marina Silva began her campaign as the Brazilian Socialist Party’s presidential candidate by criticizing incumbent Dilma Rousseff’s management of Latin America’s biggest economy while also pledging allegiance to positions taken by predecessor Eduardo Campos.

A week after Campos died in an Aug. 13 plane crash, the PSB yesterday chose Silva, 56, to take over his candidacy and tapped Beto Albuquerque to be her running mate. According to the first poll taken since Campos’s death, Silva would push the Oct. 5 election to an Oct. 26 second-round ballot.

In her first news conference as the PSB’s candidate, Silva decried the low growth, inflation (BZPIIPCY) and high interest rates that undermine the reduction of inequality and hamper Brazil’s economic development. Saying she has long “defended fiscal responsibility,” Silva repeated her commitment to inflation targeting, a floating exchange rate and the primary surplus while calling Campos a “defender of formal central bank autonomy.” She also declared that government mistakes in energy policy had proven expensive for Brazilians.

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A New Entry Is Shaking Up Brazil’s Vote

August 21, 2014

Simon Romero – The New York Times, 8/20/2014

As the daughter of impoverished rubber tappers in the far reaches of the Brazilian Amazon, Marina Silva learned how to read as a teenager and worked as a maid before entering politics as an icon of the environmental movement. Now, with a trajectory appealing to big parts of Brazil’s electorate, Ms. Silva is stirring an acutely competitive presidential race.

After the plane crash last week that killed Eduardo Campos, the scion of a powerful political clan in northeast Brazil, Ms. Silva was chosen on Wednesday to take his place as the candidate of the Brazilian Socialist Party, challenging the ambitions of the leftist incumbent, President Dilma Rousseff, and Aécio Neves, a top challenger and favorite of the business establishment.

Leaping into the race with poll numbers suggesting she could edge past Ms. Rousseff in a second round of voting, Ms. Silva, 56, is emerging as one of the most disruptive figures in Brazilian politics in a generation, luring coveted support from Brazil’s fast-growing evangelical Christian population, young well-educated voters in big cities and some prominent business executives.

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Exclusive: Brazil’s PSDB party would support Silva in runoff

August 20, 2014

Brian Winter – Reuters, 8/20/2014

The Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), the country’s biggest opposition group, would formally support environmentalist Marina Silva in a runoff vote for the presidency if its own candidate fails to qualify, a party source told Reuters.

Such an alliance would reduce President Dilma Rousseff’s chances of winning a second term by bringing together large, disparate groups of voters who are clamouring for change after more than a decade of Workers’ Party rule.

The election is being closely watched by investors who are also hoping for a change in government after almost four years of stagnant growth and state intervention in the economy under Rousseff’s left-leaning administration.

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Silva surges in Brazil election poll, runoff looks certain

August 19, 2014

Anthony Boadle – Reuters, 8/19/2014

Marina Silva’s entry into Brazil’s presidential race will almost certainly force the October election into a second-round runoff and the environmentalist could even unseat President Dilma Rousseff, according to a poll released on Monday.

It showed Silva with the support of 21 percent of voters, almost three times more than center-left candidate Eduardo Campos, who she is poised to replace on the Brazilian Socialist Party’s ticket after his death last week in a plane crash.

Support for Rousseff in the survey by polling firm Datafolha was unchanged from last month at 36 percent and remained at 20 percent for centrist and market favorite Aecio Neves, showing that Silva’s surge came among voters who were previously undecided.

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