By Maria Lopez Conde, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Former Senator and 2010 presidential candidate Marina Silva will meet with members of the Partido Socialista Brasileiro (PSB) this week to define a mutual political platform just three days after Silva announced she was joining the country’s Socialist Party following her unsuccessful bid to establish an opposition political party.
Silva appeared alongside Pernambuco governor and president of the PSB, Eduardo Campos, in an October 5th event in Brasília to commemorate her participation in the elections under the PSB banner.
Thanking the PSB for its support, Silva affirmed that she will continue to voice the platform of the Rede Sustentabilidade, her pro-environment party that was rejected by Brazil’s Superior Electoral Court (TSE) on Thursday, October 3rd.
“I will continue to be the spokesperson of the Rede Sustentabilidade,” she told reporters last Saturday. “They thought they had defeated us, but we’re here to say that this alliance is not to destroy, but to construct. Our objective is neither opposition for the sake of opposition, nor situation by situation, it is to assume positions.”
In her remarks, Silva reiterated that her move represented a commitment to what she labeled as, her “clandestine political party” rather than a departure from her program. “This is not Marina entering a party to participate in the elections. This is Marina entering a party to seal the program of the Rede Sustentabilidade, and in the democratic discussion, strengthen the program of the candidacy that is already in place,” Silva affirmed.
The daughter of rubber tappers from the impoverished state of Acre, Silva served as Environment Minister for much of President Lula’s eight-year presidency. She received over nineteen percent of the popular vote in the 2010 presidential elections as part of Brazil’s Green Party (PV).
Brazilian presidential polls for September show Silva as a plausible alternative to President Dilma Rousseff, up for re-election next year, with 16 and 38 percent respectively. For Octavio Amorim Neto, Political Science professor at Fundação Gétulio Vargas (FGV) in Rio de Janeiro, Silva’s decision to join a new party was bold.
“It’s a daring and surprising maneuver to try to overcome what happened,” Neto said, referring to the TSE’s rejection. “The maneuver was skillful, but she did lose because [her candidacy] will not be under her own party,” adding that it is likely Silva will run as Eduardo Campos’s vice-president. Polls currently give Campos just four percent of support among the Brazilian electorate.
Reconciling Silva’s political objectives with her new party’s political platform will likely become an uphill battle, as the PSB has partnerships with conservative forces, such as Brazil’s powerful agribusiness lobby. However, Pedro Ivo, Rede’s coordinator of organization, was confident in front of the press on Saturday, stating that Silva’s supporters and the PSB would “create an ecological-socialist alliance.”
The PSB gives Silva the party organization and the capacity to build pacts with other parties. Silva, Neto believes, brings “her name, which is very well-known, her charisma and her focus” to her new party. The move strengthens the PSB and elevates its profile as a competitive contender to take down the political predominance of the ruling Workers’ Party (PT) and the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), making next year’s election, in which Rousseff had once looked a clear winner, “more uncertain.”
However, her decision to join an established political party could damage her image as a fresh new voice in Brazilian politics without links to the political establishment. “This type of agreement takes away that aura of purity and novelty she had,” among young voters, Neto told The Rio Times in a phone interview. “She is playing the traditional game of Brazilian politics.”