By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Environmentalist and former Green Party presidential candidate Marina Silva had her request to establish a new political party, the Rede Sustentabilidade (Sustainability Network), rejected by Brazil’s Superior Electoral Court (TSE) yesterday. The result means she will likely not be a candidate for the 2014 Presidential elections.

Marina Silva’s Party Bid Rejected, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Marina Silva awaiting the STF’s decision in Brasília, photo by José Cruz/ABr.

The judges arrives at a 6-1 decision against letting her open a new political party due to the fact that Ms. Silva had not obtained the necessary amount of signatures to establish a party.

Out of the over 800,000 signatures obtained by the Rede, formed in February this year, only 442,500 were declared valid. At least 492,000 valid signatures would have been required to establish a new party.

According to the electoral law, a new party needs signatures from the people in at least nine states, representing at least 0.5 percent of the country’s electorate.

According to Ms. Silva the new party had collected 868,000 signatures, and around 550,000 were deemed valid by her and her followers. This number would have passed the minimum requirement set forth by Brazil’s law. Her party and supporters complained about the delay in validating the signatures and the fact that they were rejected on “bureaucratic terms,” or without justification.

The TSE’s decision makes it difficult for Ms. Silva to participate in 2014’s Presidential elections as a candidate because political parties must be confirmed by Saturday, October 5th. This leaves Ms. Silva with 48 hours to either establish another party or to align herself with an existing one, although it is said that other parties have already offered her a place.

Marina Silva was the first rubber tapper ever elected to Brazil’s Federal Senate in 1994 and since then has become a household name as an environment advocate, especially in her home state Amazonas. In 2003, Silva was appointed Environment Minister by President Lula. She remained in office until 2008.

In 2010, she ran in the Brazilian Presidential elections under the Green Party (PV) banner, and earned 19.33 percent of the popular vote, making her a viable alternative to established forces. With the recent discontent over the current government and its policies, which culminated in countrywide protests in June, her chances of a positive performance in next year’s elections seemed high.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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