Telephone surveys on the Brazil’s presidential elections conducted by the main political parties, for internal consumption, show that the former senator Marina Silva already leads the polls in the states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the two biggest electorates in the country.
Silva has also overtaken presidential candidate senator Aécio Neves in Minas Gerais, the home state of Neves, and a place were he was a very popular governor. The internal surveys also show that president Dilma Rousseff lost votes in her bid for reelection,
The expectations are that the coming survey by pollster Ibope will show Marina Silva, the PSB candidate, with about 27% of voting intentions, consolidating her position in second place after Rousseff, and guaranteeing a place for her in the second round. In the last public survey by DataFolha, Silva appeared with 21% of the votes.
The Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) officially announced Silva as the party’s presidential candidate late on Wednesday. August 20. Her running mate will be PSB Federal Deputy Beto Albuquerque. The decision was made following a meeting with representatives of the parties that make up the Unidos pelo Brasil (United for Brazil) coalition.
Silva had been the running mate on Eduardo Campos’s ticket and is now the party’s choice to replace him following his death in a plane crash last August 13, in Santos, a coastal city in the state of São Paulo.
“Silva will fulfill all agreements signed by former governor Eduardo Campos. She and I will not simply do our own thing. We are going to do what Brazil demands and needs, and what the people want. This has all been set forth on our agenda. And that’s our commitment,” Albuquerque said.
In the party’s invitation letter for Marina Silva to lead the coalition, PSB members reaffirm their commitment to establish “a government that will decentralize power and be guided by ethical politics, uncompromisingly stand up for the people’s interests and serve the common good with a view to eliminating inequalities and promoting economic, social and political inclusion of millions of Brazilians who are still ostracized from the social and economic progress and human development.”
Quite a Résumé
Born as Maria Osmarina Silva de Souza in the Brazilian Amazon state of Acre, the former senator and former Environment minister Marina Silva began her political career deeply engaged with the rubber tapper activism of the 1980s and the rights of forest communities.
A daughter of rubber tappers, she had a poor childhood. She inherited health problems related to mercury contamination, resulting from water polluted by mining activity in her home area.
Only at the age of 16 did she learn to read and write in an adult literacy teaching program rolled out by the military government in the 1970s. Facing extremely poor conditions, she began an undergraduate course in History at the Federal University of Acre.
She was a founding member of the Central Workers’ Union (CUT) and the Workers’ Party (PT) in Acre. She was first elected for public office as a local councilwoman in capital Rio Branco in 1988, and then as a state legislator in 1990.
In 1994 at age 36, she became Brazil’s youngest female senator ever. She was re-elected in 2002 but resigned in 2003 to take over as Environment minister in the first ruling term of then-president Lula. She remained as minister until 2008, when she stepped down for disagreements with other government members.
The following year, Marina Silva left the Workers’ Party, in what she regards as the hardest decisions she has ever made. She joined the Green Party (PV) and ran for president in 2010, coming third in the first round with nearly 20 million votes.
Marina Silva remained a PV member until 2011, when she decided to create a new political party. In 2013, along with other supporters, she announced that she had reached the required membership to create the Sustainability Network (REDE). However, some of the signatures were annulled by electoral registries and the party became ineligible to register with the Electoral Court.
In October of the same year, she was invited by Eduardo Campos to form a ticket to run for presidency in 2014, and joined the PSB as Campos’s running mate for the presidential bid. From the beginning, she publicly announced that she would not give up pursuing official recognition for her Sustainability Network.
The new party focuses on environmental issues, sustainability, and improving living conditions for the general population and forest dwellers in particular. She has also said that she will leave the PSB to devote her efforts to the new party as soon the possibility arises.
Following Campos’s fatal air crash little more than 50 days before the election, Marina Silva was chosen by the PSB to replace Campos on the party ticket.
In the first election poll after the incident, which already included her name among presidential candidates, she came second with 21% of voting intentions, which is technically considered to be a draw with PSDB candidate Aécio Neves.