December 13, 2013
LATIN AMERICAMonday, October 7, 2013
Brazil: Marina Silva backs Socialist candidate
Former environmental minister fails to get new party registered, endorses Campos
SAO PAULO — Popular Brazilian opposition leader Marina Silva announced Saturday that she was joining forces with the Socialist Party ahead of next year’s presidential election, a decision that came after the top electoral court ruled against the creation of her new party.
The Supreme Electoral Tribunal ruled on Thursday that Silva had failed to obtain enough signatures to register her own Sustainability Network party. As a result, the former senator and environment minister could only be a candidate by signing up with an existing political party.
She had until the end of Saturday to make her decision.
At a news conference, she indicated she would not be a presidential candidate saying the Socialist Party “already has one,” Pernambuco state Governor Eduardo Campos.
Recent polls suggest that Silva, who served as environment minister under President Dilma Rousseff’s predecessor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, had emerged stronger from the mass protests that swept Brazil in June and caused the popularity ratings of several top politicians to plummet.
A poll conducted in early August by Datafolha, one of Brazil’s top polling and statistic firms, said she was the preferred candidate of 26 percent of registered voters. Rousseff received the support of 35 percent. Datafolha questioned 2,615 people on August 7-9. The margin of error was plus or minus two percentage points.
Silva won international accolades for her efforts to help preserve Brazil’s Amazon rainforest during her tenure as environment minister.
She split with Rousseff’s Workers Party in 2009 over policy differences and joined the Green Party. She ran for president in 2010 and won a surprising 20 million first-round votes, but it wasn’t enough to get on the second-round ballot.
Brazilian media said that the news of Silva’s with the Socialist party were received with concern at the Planalto Palace, given that it means that a second centre-left option will be available for voters at next year’s election.
At the PSDB, the PT’s traditional opposition, the announcement was received with joy. “We celebrate” Silva’s decision because it represents the strengthening of the opposition”, Senator Cassio Cunha Lima.
“The government is the big loser here: they don’t want Marina and her ideas to participate in the presidential elections,” he told Folha de Sao Paulo.
Herald with AP, Télam, online media