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December 21, 2014
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Silva wants Lula, Cardoso for future gov’t

Brazil’s Socialist Party presidential candidate Marina Silva (left) chats with a woman holding a gun as she attends a rally campaign in Sao Paulo on Sunday.

PSB team begins charm offensive on floating voters by courting former Brazilian leaders

SAO PAULO — Marina Silva’s campaign team revealed yesterday that the Brazilian presidential candidate would seek to lure former leaders Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva into her government, should she win October’s vote, as the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) began its charm offensive against undecided voters.

In an interview with Folha de S. Paulo, economist Eduardo Giannetti da Fonseca — one of Silva’s key advisors — expressed his delight over the environmentalist’s performance in recent polling and sounded optimistic over her chances of winning the October election and unseating incumbent President Dilma Rousseff.

Since replacing Eduardo Campos as the PSB candidate for president, following Campos’ shocking death in a plane crash two weeks ago, Silva has leapfrogged over Aécio Neves, the challenger from Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), and consolidated her second-place standing in surveys. If the polls were to prove right, Silva would face Rousseff in a second-round runoff.

It’s a real turnaround for Silva, albeit one that has come under a dark cloud. When she declared herself Campos’ running mate last year, it was thought her ambitions of becoming Brazil’s head of state were over, after her unsuccessful presidential run in 2010. After the death of the Brazilian congressman and Pernambuco governor, the PSB’s chances of election have surged.

Silva still has considerable ground to make up, in the most recent polling she was predicted to take 21 percent of the vote, compared to Rousseff’s 36 percent. But good news keeps coming — PSDB insiders indicated last week the party would be likely to back Silva in any potential runoff, rather than Rousseff.

Across the aisle

Giannetti, who reportedly talks with Silva two or three times a week, refused to indicate yesterday if he was after a position in any possible government formed by the environmentalist and evangelical, saying that he had no political ambition and no interest in becoming the country’s next finance minister. But he was happy to talk about Silva and her style of governance, saying she would reach across the aisle to the other parties, seeking people from the PT and the PSDB to form her government and to ensure the support of future bills in Congress.

“If (José) Sarney, Renan (Calheiros) and (Fernando) Collor (de Mello) go to the opposition,” Giannetti said, referring to other Brazilian political figures, “what do you govern with and with whom do you negotiate? Lula and FHC (Fernando Henrique Cardoso).”

Giannetti also spoke positively about the PSB’s rivals, saying he would try to rally members from other organizations to join their cause, should Silva win.

“The PSDB is a party with many technicians and little leadership,” he said. “The PT also has excellent technicians who worked during Lula’s first term, and we would love to bring them in. Our idea is to govern with the best in politics and public policy management.”

Giannetti also sought to brush off criticism that the hardline environmentalist is inflexible.

“Marina’s project separates her a lot from Dilma and Aécio. She wants to build new governance, which is not based on the bargaining of pieces of government to gain support in Congress,” he said.

The comments by the economist could be read as part of a strategy to win over voters from either of Silva’s competitors. Cardoso governed as part of the PSDB when president, whereas Lula is the famous former leader of the ruling Workers’ Party (PT), whose candidate this year is Rousseff, his successor.

Silva took aim at Rousseff over the weekend, mocking her image as Brazil’s “manager” in a fiery speech that sought to play off her previous election-wining slogans.

Rousseff fought back yesterday, seeking to strengthen her re-election chances by highlighting the PT’s social achievements in Brazil’s recent history. She claimed that more than 20 million jobs had been created since 2003 and said that societal changes in the country now meant that “the daughter of a mason can be a doctor and a maid can now travel by plane.”

Herald with Télam

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