Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Brazil: Silva Suggests Rousseff Resorting to Scare Tactics, Polling Suggests Silva in 2nd Place

President Dilma Rousseff is attempting to scare Brazilians into giving her a second four-year term in the October 5 election, leading rival Marina Silva said on Wednesday (September 3).

“The worst way of doing politics is through fear. I prefer to do politics with hope and confidence,” the PSB candidate said in an interview with news website G1.

Silva, a former environment minister who surged in the polls after entering Brazil’s presidential contest less than three weeks ago, thus alluded to Rousseff’s campaign ad suggesting that if elected, the challenger would end up like two previous presidents who were forced from office.

“Two times in its history, Brazil elected saviors of the homeland, leaders of ‘me alone’ parties,” says a narrator in the Rousseff television ad.

The ad campaign depicts images of former Presidents Janio Quadros, whose 1961 resignation sparked a political crisis that led to Brazil’s 1964 military coup, and Fernando Collor de Mello, who resigned in 1992 amid a corruption scandal.

Both men came to power espousing stances opposing what they called “old politics” and the traditional parties, similar to what Silva is doing now.

“We know how that ended up. Dreaming is fine, but in an election you must put your feet on the ground and return to reality,” Rousseff’s ad states.

COMMENT: Silva noted on Wednesday that in the 2002 elections, when Rousseff’s predecessor and political mentor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, came to power for the first time, his adversaries also tried to “instill fear” into the electorate.

“In those elections hope overcame fear. The public believes and trusts in that. Society, when they engaged in terrorism against Lula, repeated that phrase: Hope defeated fear,” Silva said.

Silva, an Afro-Brazilian, served as environment minister for part of Lula’s 2003-2011 Workers Party government. She finished third in the 2010 presidential election as leader of the Green Party.

“Regrettably, the person who is wanting to revive fear now is President Dilma,” said the environmentalist, who became the PSB candidate 20 days ago following the death in a plane crash of the party’s original nominee, Eduardo Campos.

Polls indicate that none of the seven candidates will gain the majority needed for outright victory on October 5, thus necessitating a second round of voting on October 26.

Before Silva joined the contest, the runoff was expected to pit Rousseff against the then-main challenger, Aecio Neves, and to result in a victory for the current head of state.

Silva, however, has pushed Neves to a distant third place and polling suggests her beating Rousseff in a runoff election.