Eduardo Campos, a prominent presidential candidate in Brazil, and six other people were killed in a plane crash in the southeast of the country 13 August 2014. The small aircraft came down onto houses in the city of Santos. Campos was considered both a modern manager and an old fashioned boss and had been a successful governor of the poor, northeastern state of Pernambuco. Campos, 49, who was on board the plane, was the leader of the left-of-center Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) and was set to challenge President Dilma Rousseff in a presidential poll set for 05 October. Campos had about 10 percent of votes for the upcoming poll, according to opinion polls. Rousseff was leading with 36 percent and Senator Aecio Neves had about 20 percent. The presidential campaign was postponed for a period of mourning.
Environmentalist Marina Silva joined the race for president as Brazil's Socialist Party candidate. The candidate who began the election cycle as the running mate of Eduardo Campos made the announcement on August 20, 2014, a week after Campos died in a plane crash. Beto Albuquerque, who heads the party in Brazil's House of Representatives, became Silva's running mate. Campos was polling a distant third behind Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers Party and the centrist candidate, Aecio Neves. However, polls since Campos' death showed Silva running about even with Neves.
Many political analysts said Silva may be a stronger candidate than Campos, and for a while some polls indicated she might thwart a first-round victory for Rousseff on October 5, or even place first herself. Polls suggested incumbent Dilma Rousseff would lose to her in a likely runoff by 10 points. It was even worse for the opposition’s Aecio Neves, who was almost 20 points behind for the first vote on October 5th. It is so shocking that the talk about the economy and political support is insufficient to affect the newcomer.
If elected, Silva would be the first black, Amazon bred and evangelical president in the country’s history. Silva, an evangelical who belonged in the Catholic Church until the end of the nineties, released her program stating she would fight homophobia and support gay marriage. It took hours for conservative religious leaders to speak out. It took less than a day for the candidate to go backwards, claiming there was a mistake in the edit of her program. Gay rights activists were furious with her.
It was thought Silva would tap into the widespread disdain Brazilians hold for the political class – anger that boiled over into roiling, nationwide anti-government protests in 2013. Opinion polls taken just after the demonstrations over a year ago indicated Silva was among the few political figures unscathed, given her squeaky clean reputation amid what voters say is a sea of corruption. But Silva has not withstood a barrage of attacks labeling her as indecisive and without the mettle needed to lead the globe’s fifth-largest nation.
There were 11 candidates hoping to take this post, however only three of them had real chances to win the election. President Dilma Rousseff, who represents the Worker’s Party, was said to be the main candidate. According to most surveys, over 40 percent of citizens were said to plan to support Rousseff in first-round election. Marina Silva and Aécio Neves were expected to contend for the second place, with Silva having support of 21.4 percent of voters according to one poll, and Neves getting 24 percent.
Opinion surveys indicate around 70 percent of Brazilians say they want change – as made plain by the mammoth anti-government protests in 2013 blasting Brazil’s woeful public services despite the nation’s heavy tax burden. Rousseff promised to expand social programs and continue strong state involvement in the economy. Both Silva and Neves offered more centrist economic approaches, such as central bank independence, more privatizations and the pursuit of trade deals with Europe and the United States.
It was expected that the final decision would only be made after the presidential run-off. According to Brazilian laws, the second run is held when none of the candidates manages to get more than 50 percent of votes in the first run. If none of the candidates gains an outright majority, the runoff would take place on October 26.
With most of the votes counted, incumbent Dilma Rousseff moved to a second round runoff after garnering 41% of the votes. She was expected to face Aécio Neves, who had himselft reportedly received 34% of the ballots. Brazilian Socialist Party candidate Marina Silva was out of the race after receiving only 21% of the votes; a disappointment after some projections had showed her at one point moving to the second round. Silva faced a tough campaign against Rousseff, who attacked Silva’s credibility over her inconsistent political affiliations.
One difference between the two candidates’ platforms lay in their foreign policies. While Rousseff was a fervent supporter of integration in the framework of BRICS and Mercosur, Neves promised to nurture pragmatic relations with leftist Latin American regimes, to pay more attention to Asia, and to cooperate with the US. Neves emphasized insufficiencies in the state line: The Brazilian economy is in recession, inflation is growing, and the Brazilian Real had weakened to a 16-year low. During nearly 12 years in power, the Workers’ Party ushered in strong social programs that have helped lift millions out of poverty and into the middle class. Rousseff’s strongest support came from the poorest, those who are precariously hanging onto gains amid an economy that has sputtered since 2010.
Brazil's president promised to reconcile the country, reboot the economy, fight corruption, and listen to voters’ demand for change in a victory speech late Sunday in the capital, Brasilia. Dilma Rousseff, 66, was re-elected by a narrow margin, winning 51.6 percent of the vote to 48.4 percent for her rival, business favorite Aecio Neves, in a run-off election 26 October 2014. This was the fourth straight win for her Workers' Party (PT).
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