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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Brazil’s Marina Silva to run for vice-president

Former minister Marina Silva pictured with Pernambuco state Governor Eduardo Campos during a meeting where Silva announced her decision to join the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), in Brasília in October 2013. Silva will be the vice-presidential candidate in Campos’ 2014 presidential campaign.

Popular former minister joins Eduardo Campos’ PSB ticket to challenge Rousseff

RIO DE JANEIRO — Marina Silva, former Brazilian federal environment minister has agreed to run for vice-president in October elections on the presidential ticket of Eduardo Campos, the governor of Brazil’s Pernambuco state, Globo newspaper reported yesterday.

Silva, who will make her intention publicly known by mid-February, could announce her candidacy at a January 17 meeting of leaders of Campos’ Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), the newspaper said.

Globo did not cite sources for its story, and officials for Silva and Campos did not immediately respond to telephone and email requests from reporters yesterday.

Silva and Campos, two of the country’s most popular opposition leaders, surprised many when they said in October they would form an alliance but refused to say which of them would stand for president if they made a bid.

Pollsters say their decision to team up could form a serious challenge to President Dilma Rousseff’s hopes of re-election.

Globo reported that in exchange for Silva’s pledge to run alongside Campos, his PSB party had agreed to end its support for the re-election of Geraldo Alckmin of the centrist Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) as governor of Sao Paulo state.

São Paulo is Brazil’s richest, most-populous and most industrialized state. Alckmin is also a former presidential candidate.

The PSB has been working with the PSDB to create a wider electoral aliance in several states in hopes of boosting their chances to win governorships and the presidency in October.

While Campos has worked closely with Rousseff and her predecessor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, his growing criticism of the government’s economic policies has won him increased support from business people, despite his party’s socialist roots.

Silva has won wide backing from more left-leaning Brazilians who believe Rousseff and Lula’s Workers’ Party (PT)has abandoned its environmental legacy in favour of economic development of Brazil’s Amazon and other dwindling ecosystems. Silva was Lula’s environment minister from 2003 to 2008 before the Green Party.

She was placed third in the 2010 presidential election that saw Rousseff elected and enjoys credibility among younger and better educated voters.

In a November 30 poll of voting intentions by Brazilian research group Datafolha, Rousseff led with 47 percent while Campos, who remains largely unknown outside his home region, came in third with 11 percent.

In second place with 19 percent was PSDB candidate Aécio Neves, a senator and former governor of Minas Gerais state.

Survey results

Globo also reported that Eduardo Campos made the decision to accept the conditions that Silva was imposing as a result of preliminary surveys carried out by the PSB in São Paulo state, which sought to know voter’s views on Silva’s popularity and to what extent they supported a Campos-Silva ticket for the presidency.

Silva polled at over 20 percent approval and once her name was thrown in with Campos, the ticket fared better than that of PSDB presidential pre-candidate Aécio Neves. These results were determinant for Campos decision-making and political strategizing.

electoral alliances

Campos had been looking to share a platform with the PSDB in states where it was electorally convenient to do so following a meeting in December 2013 withAécio Neves to hammer out the details. However, Silva was able to convince him that São Paulo is important enough to justify the PSB having its own candidate to challenge Alckmin’s re-election bid and to break off an alliance with the PSDB.

Despite the change in plans, the PSB and PSDB are expected to main electoral alliances in races for the governorships of Minas Gerais, Paraíba and Paraná provinces. Most notably, the PSB will have the primary candidate in Minas Gerais, a Neves stronghold under threat from Dilma Rousseff’s PT. The stage is thus set for an intriguing battle in a key election year.

Herald with Reuters

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