As Brazilians headed to the polls yesterday, speculation and early indication suggested Dilma Rousseff, of the workers party (PT) , was to win the election, with Jose Serra’s candidacy of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) stuttering close behind and Marina Silva of the Green Party (PV) bringing up the ranks with an expected 10% showing- an admirable score for any Green Party’s history and being her first standing in an election, a result to build upon. However it would appear Brazil chose to tell a far Greener tale..
One must remember Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s rise to power came after a fourth attempt- even in his first year of candidacy, he only managed a fraction of a percentage point in overall votes- so if Silva was to claim 10% at her first election, her future in Politics would look bold and prosperous.
With that aside, Ms Rousseff has received Lula’s endorsement and after Lula recently gained an 81% approval rating (a globally astonishing figure for any former leader), his endorsement was expected to go a long way; far enough for the Party’s new candidate to storm to victory in the first round. Opposition to Ms Rousseff often argued that if her rise to presidency was to be a success, she would “..Simply be riding the wave of Lula’s success and his reforms”.
Lula promised something different for Brazil, his story is almost a fairy tale: raised in the Favela’s of Sao Paulo, his rise to office was a battle and an upward climb -which is arguably why he became so likeable with the poorer communities of the electorate.
A local friend of mine, who once worked within the party in its earlier more revolutionary days, suggested that “..Lula was likeable because he positioned himself as one of us, because he took on the spirit and determination of a workers party; he embodied it you could say”. Although he indeed did offere something different, his returns were somewhat less revolutionary; as the Party’s more die-hard supporters would have hoped for a radical shift in Brazil’s Political motivation and development, he instead steered Brazil’s economy more towards the new-Labour capitalist models we have come to know so well in Western Europe. With his popularity at a high, his endorsement had the ability to shape the election and many suspected that it would do so- delivering favourably to Ms Rousseff.
However, as results began to flood in, an entirely different story is now being reported and a story that not only offers hope deep within Brazil, but to Green movements all over the world.
With almost all votes now counted, there is a guarantee that the Election will indeed go into a second round of voting. That initial outcome in itself has come as a surprise to many, but what has turned even more heads and what has offered a glimpse of brighter times ahead, is the resulst for Green Party candidate Marina Silva.
With 98% of votes counted, the former indigenous villager from the Amazonian state of Acre, has amassed a staggering 20% of the overall vote. For a first time candidate of any more minor party this tally would be comprehendible, but for the Green party to be in this position, it has turned the Election on it’s head.
With Ms Rousseff’s disappointing showing of just over 46% and Jose Serra contributing just under 33% of the total, Marina Silva’s slice of the electorate, although small, has shoved this election into its surprise Second round of voting. Although this means Marina will be out of contention, the run-off between Dilma Rousseff and Jose Serra is set to be fierce.
With both now considering strategies on how to attract Silva’s voters, Marina finds herself in a surprisingly strong position of power- debating within her party on whether to endorse Rousseff, of the party where Silva originally served on the Cabinet to Lula’s government- although having feared some of Ms Dilmas more radical Energy policies, could Marina bring herself to endorse the more centre right candidate and former Governor of Sao Paulo, Jose Serra. The third option of course is to vocally endorse neither, but the Green’s will hope to act as a collective and remarkably the ball seems to have dropped in Silva’s court for the time being- for now the “other Woman” of the election has the ability to shape it’s outcome.
It’s likely that if she does indeed show support to one of the run off candidates, and they do indeed claim victory, she will offered a place on their Cabinet- it’s usually how these things go in Brazil. However Marina is a woman of strict moral values and one would assume her to turn that down, gather her party and prepare to do battle at the next election.
Back in May (in my articled in Positive News) I speculated that it would take Marina Silva just three attempts before Brazil was ready for her Politics and were ready to make her their President- but depending on how her campaign goes from now on, earlier success could be on the horizon..
South America has always been a continent of Political diversity:
Hugo Chavez leads Venezuela, he is an outspoken critic of globalisation and the United States. Evo Morales is the frontman for Bolivia; a devout Socialist and protector of indigenous rights, Ecuador’s political force Rafael Correa recently made a revolutionary promise to stop all oil exploration and now Brazil may be moving towards Greener pastures…
The political murmurings of Marina Silva’s success now stretch far beyond the initial 20% of the vote; she offered something different, her Policies are rooted in sustainability, her heart connected to the people of the Rain Forest and for now she is Brazils green future, waiting anxiously to be written..
(I welcome your opinions..)