Former Brazilian Partido Verde (PV) presidential candidate Marina Silva, who won 19 percent of ballots cast (about 20 million votes) in Brazil’s first-round presidential election on October 3, has chosen to not formally endorse either of the two candidates ahead of the second-round vote on October 31.
The polling gap between Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) candidate Dilma Rousseff and the Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (PSDB) candidate José Serra has been narrowing steadily in recent weeks as candidates seek to win over voters from Ms. Silva’s camp. An endorsement by Ms. Silva could have had an important impact on the race. Ms. Silva, a one-time environment minister in President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s government, said in a recent open letter that "not endorsing a candidate does not signify a neutral position, but an independent one, with (our) ideas and proposals reaffirmed."
Both presidential candidates faced off yesterday in the second televised debate of the election cycle. The major issue discussed was each candidate’s position on the privatization of state industries. Social issues like abortion, however, which the presidential hopefuls have recently used to draw votes from Ms. Silva’s camp, were notably absent.
Dilma Rousseff, the former cabinet chief for President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, accepted the formal nomination on Sunday of Lula’s Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) for the October presidential election. Among her opponents will be José Serra of the Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (PSDB) who also received his party’s nomination this past weekend.
In accepting her nomination, Rouseff pledged to continue Lula’s policy of reducing poverty and improve the tax system, but sought to distinguish herself from Lula as well, announcing that she would govern with the “heart and soul of a woman.”
Serra, an economist who has long served in state and federal government, criticized the current administration for turning a blind eye toward corruption and announced his concern for human rights issues. Lula has engaged closely with Cuba and Iran, despite their poor track record on human rights.
An Ibope poll released on June 5 reveals a close race, with each of the leading candidates registering 37 percent approval. It also showed that Rousseff is more popular among female supporters than her counterpart, Serra.
Lula is barred from a third consecutive term by the Brazilian constitution.