By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Presidential candidate Aecio Neves received a crucial endorsement on Sunday in his bid for the top spot in Brazil. Third-placed candidate Marina Silva, of the PSB (Socialist Party) officially endorsed Neves, of the PSDB (Social Democracy Party) in this year’s presidential elections.
“Due to the commitments taken on by Aecio Neves, I declare I will support and give my vote to his candidacy,” said Silva during the official announcement.
Among the commitments agreed upon by Aecio Neves are the end of the possibility of re-election for executive posts, an agrarian reform, sustainable environmental policies and the creation of a council to help end conflicts between landless peasants and large landowners as well as conflicts between farmers and indigenous communities. Silva, however, denied she was seeking a position in the future administration if Neves won the Presidency.
The endorsement comes a week after Neves’ surprising rise to second place in the first round of elections, held on October 5th. Although days before the election polling surveys had put Silva in second place, she only received 21.32 percent of the votes, while Aecio Neves received 33.55 percent and incumbent President Dilma Rousseff of the PT (Workers Party) obtained 41.59 percent.
With the race technically tied between Neves (46 percent) and Rousseff (44 percent) Silva’s endorsement had been deeply sought after by both candidates. Analysts say the almost twenty-two million voters who voted for her in the first round are likely to make a difference in final tally.
Rousseff dismissed her rival’s latest endorsement stating that she does not believe in an automatic transfer of votes from Silva to Neves. “I believe in democracy. The vote is decided when the voter who goes to the ballot center,” said Rousseff while visiting an educational center in São Paulo. Last week Neves also obtained the support of the PV (Green Party).