Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Ex-Minister Marina Silva Leads Poll for Brazilian President

It may be presumptuous to discuss the 2018 Brazilian presidential race amidst the current political crisis shaking up the South American state. But the growing distrust by Brazilians against their leaders seems to be reflected in the results of a recent poll.

According to a Datafolha survey conducted from March 17 to 18, a plurality of respondents opted for Marina Silva, a former senator and presidential candidate. Silva, who ran as an outsider for the Socialist Party (PSB) in 2014, received 21% backing in the poll if she were to run as an independent. Accounting for the margin of error, she would be in a statistical dead heat with 2014 presidential election runner up Aécio Neves and embattled ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Yet her support climbs to 24% if she were to run as representative of the conservative opposition PDSB, while backing of Lula has plummeted in light of his suspected role in the “Lava Jato” corruption scandal.  

Silva was allied to the ruling Workers Party and served as an environmental minister under Lula from 2003 to 2008. The long-time environmental activist resigned, however, amid disgust over his lack of strong conservation policies. She unsuccessfully ran for president twice including four years ago when she was succeeded Eduardo Campos after he died in a plane crash. She became among the favorites in the polls to make it to the runoff and was backed mainly by social conservatives, middle class Brazilians upset at the government led by Dilma Rousseff, and young voters people turned off by the traditional political establishment. Battling against the existing political machinery along with doubts among some in the PSB seemed to have worked against her, however, and she was trounced in the first round by Neves and eventual victor Rousseff.

As the “Lava Jato” probe has grown to implicate Brazil’s political elite, Silva has not held back on her criticism against Lula and Rousseff. She claimed that Rousseff’s failed attempt to name Lula as a minister in order to prevent prosecution would create a Brazil with “two presidents.” Silva has called for electoral judicial officials to annul Rousseff’s presidency over  “Lava Jato” instead of an impeachment due to her distrust of the government under a possible ascension of Vice President Michel Temer. Furthermore, she believes that the impeachment process would benefit political factions implicated in the corruption scheme over bribes at state-run oil giant Petrobras and do little to quell rising dissatisfaction among Brazilians.

Unfortunately for Silva, impeachment against Rousseff appears to be on the horizon after events on Tuesday:
The PMDB, the largest party in Brazil's ruling coalition, has voted for an "immediate exit" from President Dilma Rousseff's government.

The move could hasten impeachment proceedings against President Rousseff, correspondents say…

Speaking before the vote, Osmar Terra, a lawmaker from the PMDB, said he had little doubt which way it would go.

"It will be a goodbye to the government," he said.

Compounding Rousseff’s political woes is the weakening Brazilian economy that is under recession and expected to continue its downward slide this year.

YouTube Source – CCTV America (Video uploaded in August 2014).

Online Sources (English) – BBC News, Fox News Latino, The Latin Americanist

Online Sources (Portuguese) – Estadao, Folha.com

Online Sources (Spanish) – lainformacion.com, infobae

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