By Kate Rintoul, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL — With her unconditional backing of former president Lula, some had suggested incumbent president Dilma Rousseff could win the 2014 election in the first round of the 2014 elections. However the announcement of Marina Silva as candidate for the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), along with competition from Aécio Neves of the Party of Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB) means a second round is likely.
The first stage of Brazil’s general election will take place on October 5th and, if Dilma Rousseff, representing the Workers Party (PT) fails to win the fifty percent majority, a second round will be held on October 26th.
These have been seen as important elections at a crucial moment in Brazil’s development and eleven candidates are running for the country’s top job, the most since 1998. Brazil has over twenty different political parties but most fall into alliances formed around four major parties.
Current president Dilma Rousseff is seeking her second term representing the Workers Party (PT), which has an increasingly center-left profile and has governed the country since 2003, when Lula first came to office.
Having served time in jail for her association with a Marxist guerrilla group under Brazil’s dictatorship, Rousseff worked her way through the ranks of the PT party to eventually be Chief of Staff. Then Lula personally endorsed her as his successor.
Rousseff’s leftist policies are not favored by private business but while she has been criticized for what some deem as excessive state involvement in the economy, she has recovered her position from a 2013 dip when mass protest swept the country.
Marina Silva was officially named as the representative for the PSB last week. Brazil witnessed a great outpouring of grief over the death of Eduardo Campos and it is thought that part of this will be reflected in growing support for Silva and the PSB.
Marina Silva has had an impressive political career and was the presidential candidate for president Green Party (PV) in 2010, winning twenty percent of the votes. Since her official announcement as candidate, support PSB has surged and it is thought she is attracting voters who were previously undecided.
Silva’s environmental record and humble background provide good public support but she is distrusted by Brazil’s powerful agribusiness sector and some think her campaign is one of paradoxes. An outspoken Evangelical Christian, Silva is also linked to Brazil’s biggest private bank, Itau that represents the country’s growing oligarchy.
In second position for much of the run up to the election, Aécio Neves the candidate for the center-right PSDB has been pushed into third place and his previous hopes of attracting those who want “anyone but Dilma” look unlikely to come through.
Ex-Governor of Minas Gerais (2003-2010) and current senator, Neves’ coalition brings together right-wing parties and will run a highly funded campaign. Big business supports Neves, and the stock markets would favor his win that could potentially lead to an increase in foreign investment and the PSDB would take a more rigorous approach to cutting inflation.
Currently in fourth place, Pastor Everaldo Pereira represents the right wing Social Christian Party (PSC) and has considerable popularity among Brazil’s growing number of evangelical worshipers and leaders.
The most recent poll of voter intention was released by Datafolha on August 15th and showed Rousseff in first place with 36 percent, marking a three month low. This was followed by Marina Silva with 21 percent, an increase of twelve percent for the PSB and Aécio Neves in a close third place with twenty percent of the vote.