The presidential race in Brazil has had some unexpected twists and turns in the last few weeks, while Dilma Rousseff's chances of being re-elected are vanishing in face of grim economic statistics and increasing electoral preference toward candidate Marina Silva, while former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva asked voters to cast their ballot in favor of the current head of state.
Last month, Dilma Rousseff was headed toward reelection without a rival in sight, but that has changed dramatically and according to the latest polls, in less than 10 days, Silva has increased her public support and would actually tie Rousseff in the first round, but would take the election in the runoff.
During a campaign event in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Lula da Silva criticized Silva saying that the “ambiguous” discourse of the socialists and said that it is not possible to believe in a person who is not a politician.
“It is not possible to govern without politics and those who make an apology of non-politics cannot be trusted, because whoever is elected president needs to communicate with congress and the political parties,” he said.
Silva was Lula da Silva's Environmental Minister from 2003-2008, when she put in place effective measures to slow the deforestation of the Amazon. Yesterday, Silva stressed that Brazil could double its output of crops and meat without further clearing of the rainforest.
The former president said that among the Brazilian presidential candidates, “Only Dilma is capable of continuing with the social-economic processes in Brazil.
“We cannot return to the Brazil of 2002,” Lula de Silva said, reminding people of the serious poverty and illiteracy that nation was submerged in just over a decade ago,” he said.
Marina Silva, candidate of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), was on campaign this Saturday in the slums of Rocinha in Rio de Janeiro, where she defended her platform, but emphasized it is "very important to renew politics in Brazil and make them work in favor of the problems citizens are facing."
The Brazilian general elections will be held October 5, 2014, when voters will elect the country's National Congress, president, state governors and state legislatures.
Polls show Rousseff and Silva are tied and the environmentalist would win in a runoff scheduled three weeks later.
Silva substituted Eduardo Campos as the PSB candidate about a week after he died when his jet crashed August 13.
In less than two weeks, Silva steadily climbed on the preferential surveys being carried out in the country and last Friday a poll by Datafloha showed she was tied for the time with her primary rival, Rousseff.
The president's popularity has been decreasing, while Silva's has been gaining strength. The survey, which was the third last week alone, revealed that the PSB candidate would tie with Rousseff with 34 percent of the votes each.
The same survey shows that the election would to a second-round vote, which would be won by Silva, who is thus threatening to put an end to 12 years of rule by the Workers' Party.
The intensely contested vote is being watched closely by investors hoping that a change of government will result in more market-friendly policies.
The PSB candidate, Silva, 56, has surged to 34 percent support from 21 percent in a Datafolha poll carried out before she launched her candidacy. Rousseff's support has fallen from 36 to 34.
According to the poll, if the race goes to a runoff on Oct. 26 as expected, Silva would win 50 percent of the votes, while Rousseff would get 40 percent, which means Silva has widened her margin of victory from six to 10 percentage points.
Meanwhile, support for the centrist candidate and market favorite, Aecio Neves, has dropped to 15 percent from 20 percent in the previous poll on August 18.
The poll of 2,844 eligible voters was conducted August 28 and 29, and has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points, according to Reuters.
Rousseff's re-election campaing shadowed by Brazil's report on recession.
The current president's chances for a victory October 5 are looking dimmer as the race advances, including the most recent blow to Rousseff's campaing trail which was revealed Friday in the form of data confirming that Brazil's economy has fallen into recesssion.
This news will give Rousseff's opponents a powerful weapon at a moment when her candidacy is at its most vulnerable poin and just five weeks away from election day.
Aecio Neves immediately took the chance to lambast Rousseff's "failed" policies, which have plunged Brazil into recession, while Silva vowed to restore credibility of the country's economic management to draw back investors and return the once-booming economy to a path of prosperity.
Brazil's national office of statistics (IBGE) revealed that for the second consecutive time, the country´s economy contracted plunging the nation into a “technical recession.”
The Gross Domestic Product of Brazil contracted by 0.6 percent in the second trimester of 2014. The IBGE had originally reported that the economy had registered a marginal increase during the first three months of the year, but later corrected the figures, showing that the economy had actually contracted.
Brazil is the seventh largest economy in the world today and its GDP is estimated by the IBGE at US$567 billion.