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Powerful alliance (ecologists and business) emerges to challenge Rousseff

Monday, October 7th 2013 - 14:27 UTC
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Marina Silva and her Sustainability Network were denied political party registry Marina Silva and her Sustainability Network were denied political party registry
Governor Campos one of the most popular governors of Brazil  Governor Campos one of the most popular governors of Brazil

Environmentalist Marina Silva announced that she will not run for the Brazilian presidency in the 2014 polls, and instead will back Eduardo Campos, who will be the nominee for the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB).

“I come to a party with a candidate,” Silva said as she joined the PSB at a ceremony in Brasilia, standing next to Campos, governor of the north-eastern state of Pernambuco and one of the most popular governors of Brazil.

Silva decided to join the PSB after the electoral court refused to register her own party, called Sustainability Network, since it had not collected the minimum number of signatures required by law.

The environmentalist said that Sustainability Network has not yet decided whether she should run for vice president on the ticket with Campos.

The electoral accord does not signify a fusion of the two parties, according to Silva, who said she remains a “militant of Sustainability Network” and joined the PSB in a “transitory” and “symbolic” way until she can establish her own party.

“We're the first clandestine party ever created in a functioning democracy,” Silva said in her speech, during which she slammed the electoral court for not accepting the creation of her party.

“I perfectly understand that we are receiving Sustainability Network into the PSB to establish a programmatic alliance. We acknowledge it as something necessary to improve politics in Brazil,” Campos said.

Campos praised Silva's “courage” for taking a decision “that is not the most convenient for her” but “is the one that contributes most to changing Brazil.”

Silva, who grew up poor in the Amazon and worked as a maid before graduating from college, is very popular among younger Brazilians, environmentally conscious voters and evangelical Christians. She placed a strong third in the 2010 presidential election on the Green Party ticket, (20 million voters) and has been rising in polls since the June protests.

The PSB offers Silva an organized, well-funded party that is relatively distanced from the corruption accusations that have plagued other Brazilian political groups, mainly Lula da Silva and Rousseff's Workers' Party, in recent years.

Campos is well-regarded by business leaders, and his party was part of Rousseff's governing coalition until earlier this year. He broke ranks after criticizing her for excessive intervention in Brazil's economy, which has struggled with slow growth since Rousseff took office in early 2011.

David Fleischer, a political analyst in Brasilia, said he believed Campos was likely to be the PSB presidential candidate. He said an alliance with Silva would be “interesting” for many voters and could be powerful enough to push the election to a runoff.

The latest polls place Silva in second place with a view to the elections, to be held in exactly one year, with between 16% and 26% of voter preference.

Campos comes in fourth in the surveys, with close to 5% of voter preference, while President Dilma Rousseff remains the favourite with close to 38%.

Categories: Environment, Politics, Brazil.

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