Thursday, August 21, 2014

Senior Brazilian Party Official Quits Silva Campaign

On her first full day as the official candidate of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), Marina Silva faced a challenge against her campaign.  The opposition however, did not come from her electoral rivals but instead from within the PSB.

“I want to put a distance between myself and Marina Silva,” declared PSB Secretary-General Carlos Siqueira who quit from the Silva campaign on Thursday.

“I will not participate anymore in her campaign.  She does not represent the PSB,” declared Siqueira who was the campaign manager for Eduardo Campos, the candidate Silva replaced after he died in a plane crash last week.

“Silva is far from representing the legacy of Eduardo Campos,” added Siqueira who claimed that she tried to remove him from his post after she was chosen as the PSB’s candidate on Wednesday night.

Siqueira’s replacement, legislator Walter Feldman, tried to deflect away from his predecessor’s harsh criticism and told the press that he will try to keep him on the Silva campaign.  Nevertheless, Siqueira’s comments reflect a distrust among some politicos in the alliance between Campos’ PSB and Silva’s Sustainability Network party.

Silva, the environmentalist and ex-minister who was Campos’ vice presidential pick prior to his untimely death, held a press conference yesterday where she blasted the economic policies of incumbent leader Dilma Rousseff.

”We just cannot lose the patrimony that we built of controlled inflation. Unfortunately President Rousseff will be the first president to deliver a Brazil in worse shape than she got it,” said Silva who proclaimed herself as having “defended fiscal responsibility” for many years.

According to a Datafolha poll conducted days after Campos died, Silva would triumph in a hypothetical runoff against Rousseff 47%-43%.  The poll indicated that Rousseff would win in the first round ahead of Silva who would be statistically tied with center-right candidate Aecio Neves of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB).  Yet the president would be unable to avoid a second round since she would unable to obtain more votes than all other competitors combined.  Further bolstering Silva’s chances were declarations made by a “well-placed” anonymous PSDB official claiming that the party would support her if she were to face Rousseff in a runoff.

The 56-year-old’s strongest backers reportedly come from social conservatives like her, middle class Brazilians upset at the government’s social and economic policies, and young people turned off by the traditional political establishment.  She does face challenges over being an outside candidate that can affect her campaign’s funding and also opposition from Brazil’s powerful agribusiness sector.  (Perhaps this explains why Neves campaigned at a sugarcane processing facility in southern Brazil on Wednesday).

The death of Campos showed that plenty of things can happen prior to the October 5th first round but what would happen if Silva were elected as Brazil’s next president? Analyst Carl Meachem provided a few possible clues:
Traditionally, her environmental concerns have been paramount—as, for example, with her view of the oil industry as a "necessary evil," and her opposition to the controversial Belo Monte dam.
But her economic policy is rooted in late-1990s tradition: a floating exchange rate, inflation targeting, and maintaining a primary fiscal surplus are pillars of the macroeconomic policy she advocates…
She has also pushed back on the growing influence of Chinese companies in Brazil, an increasingly controversial reality given ballooning investment from China in recent years.
Still, she has pledged to maintain the course set out by the Campos campaign before his death—a course that has shied away from radicalism in favor of more moderate economic policies.
Video Source– euronews via YouTube

Online Sources – O POVO Online;; Estado de Minas; Bloomberg; The Globe and Mail; Reuters; Center for Strategic and International Studies

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