Brazil’s Rousseff working to prevent a debacle in 2014

Brian Winter & Cesar Bianconi – Reuters, 11/22/2013

Seen from Brazil’s modernist, glass-walled presidential palace, 2014 looks like a minefield.

The economy, already sputtering, will probably slow even further. A downgrade of Brazil’s credit rating seems possible, if not likely. The World Cup of soccer, which Brazil will host in June and July, could end up revealing to billions of TV viewers the shoddy government planning and transportation bottlenecks that have frustrated investors here for years.

To top it all off, leftist President Dilma Rousseff is up for re-election in October – meaning if any of those things go horribly awry, she might lose her job.

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Brazil electoral court rejects new opposition party

Anthony Boadle – Reuters, 10/03/2013

In a decision that could boost President Dilma Rousseff’s chances of re-election next year, Brazil’s electoral court ruled on Thursday that her main potential rival failed to gather enough signatures to register her new party in time.

Environmentalist Marina Silva has until Saturday to decide whether to run on the ticket of an existing party to make her second bid for president next October.

The court ruled 6-1 against the creation of her party, called the Sustainability Network, because it fell short of the required 492,000 signatures. Silva blamed electoral notaries across Brazil for failing to validate 95,000 names on time.

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Snub on the US makes Rousseff the favorite again for re-election in Brazil

Mauricio Savarese – RT, 09/30/2013

One year to go until the Brazilian elections. It was supposed to be dull. But the June protests created havoc in the political scenario of Latin America’s powerhouse.

New players came onto the pitch and a shift in power became a bigger possibility. Now things seem to be going back to normal. That could mean a second term for center-left President Dilma Rousseff, and could prompt a thank you call from her to US President Barack Obama.

The key for her to be back on the driving seat is her snub on the United States, a poll suggests. Before the unrest during the Confederations Cup, Rousseff had a 79 percent approval rating. It plummeted to 40 percent in the beginning of September. Now it is at 54 percent. When asked about the main driving force behind Rousseff’s recent increase in popularity, 21 percent of Ibope poll respondents mentioned the rift with the Americans for their spying on Brazil.

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Almost out of time: an interview with Marina Silva

The Economist, 09/30/2013

MARINA SILVA was born into a family of rubber-tappers in Acre, a state in Brazil’s Amazon region. She survived hunger, severe illnesses and hard childhood labour to become one of the founders of the movement of environmentalists and activists for workers’ rights. In the 1970s and 1980s they organised the opposition to the big landowners who kept rubber-tappers in indentured servitude and cleared rainforest for large-scale ranching. Since being elected a senator for Acre in 1994 she has ploughed on in Brazilian politics, acting as environment minister under Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010, before stepping down in protest at pressure to weaken environmental laws, and then leaving the president’s Workers Party (PT) altogether.

As the Green Party’s presidential candidate in 2010 Ms Silva received 19.6m votes, putting her in third place. Recent opinion polls have found 16-22% support for her as a candidate in next year’s presidential elections, even though she is currently without a political party. That puts her second in the running behind the incumbent, Dilma Rousseff of the PT.

Since 2011 Ms Silva has been working to set up a new party, Rede Sustentabilidade (Sustainability Network). Brazil’s electoral laws require Rede to collect 492,000 signatures backing its formation and have them authenticated by notaries before it can be registered. Unless this is done by October 5th—exactly a year before the next elections—the party will not be eligible to field candidates, putting Ms Silva’s political future in doubt. Though it has managed to collect more than 900,000 signatures, only 450,000 had been authenticated by September 27th, when The Economist’s São Paulo bureau chief spoke to Ms Silva in her private office in Brasília about Rede’s programme for government—and its race against the clock. An edited transcript of the conversation follows.

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Brazil’s Rousseff sees popularity recover after protests

Reuters, 09/10/2013

President Dilma Rousseff’s approval rating rose almost 7 percentage points over the last month, as her popularity recovers from a battering by the massive street protests that shook Brazil in June, a poll published on Tuesday showed.

The number of Brazilians who approve of her government’s performance rose to 38.1 percent in August from 31.3 percent in July, according to the new poll commissioned by private transport sector lobby CNT and conducted by MDA Pesquisa.

Those who disapprove of the government’s performance dropped to 21.9 percent from 29.5 percent in July, the survey said.

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Brazilian opposition politician Marina Silva aims to have new party officially recognized

Associated Press – 08/26/2013

A Brazilian politician who opinion polls indicate could seriously challenge President Dilma Rousseff’s re-election bid next year initiated on Monday the process to have her party legally recognized.

Marina Silva and fellow members of her Sustainability Network party delivered a petition for the party’s legal recognition to Brazil’s Electoral Tribunal. Recognition of the party is required for her to run for the presidency next year under its banner.

Under Brazilian law, the court must receive 492,000 voter signatures validated by notaries. The party turned in more than 637,000 signatures but fewer than half of them have been validated. Notaries across the country are examining the others and are expected to send the court signatures as they are approved.

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Talk turns to a Lula comeback as Brazil’s president tumbles in polls

Juan Forero – The Washington Post, 08/19/2013

Living in a military dictatorship, a young Dilma Rousseff, seething against the inequities of Brazilian society and the authoritarian government, joined a Marxist guerrilla group with one central objective: to topple the state.

Forty years later, it’s President Rousseff who is being tested by rage: daily protests across hundreds of cities in June, followed by simmering discontent.

The anger over corruption and substandard services is directed at the entire political class, leading to sometimes-violent demonstrations against the governor in Rio de Janeiro and outbursts against politicians in other corners of the country. But on a national level it is Rousseff, 65, who has been most battered by unrest that her center-left government failed to see coming.

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