Green candidate to remain neutral in second round
Marina Silva, the Green Party candidate who picked up a surprising 19.3 percent of the vote in the first round of Brazil's presidential election, has decided not to endorse either candidate in the October 31 runoff.
AFP - Brazil's Green Party headed by Marina Silva, the number three vote-getter in the first round of elections, has decided not to endorse either candidate in the October 31 presidential runoff, a party spokesman said Sunday.
"We will remain independent," said party chief Jose Luiz Penna at the conclusion of a national convention of the environmental party.
The announcement means that Silva, who attracted a surprising 19.3 percent of the vote, will opt out of the role of kingmaker in the October 31 runoff of presidential candidates Dilma Rousseff and Jose Serra.
Rousseff, the handpicked candidate of outgoing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, finished first with 46.9 percent of ballots, to 32.6 percent for Serra, a former Sao Paulo governor.
The 52-year-old Silva, who had been environment minister in Lula's government, said in an open letter that "not endorsing a candidate does not signify a neutral position, but an independent one, with (our) ideas and proposals reaffirmed."
Some analysts suggested Silva might be able to swing the election with an endorsement. She said in her letter that she wanted to take advantage of "this burgeoning third way" that became apparent in the first round October 3.
This could end the duopoly of Lula's Workers Party and Serra's Brazilian Social Democracy Party.
Silva did not rule out however participating in the new government that will take over in January.
She and the greens were wooed by both parties. Although there was no endorsement, party members appeared more favorable to the education and environmental policies of Rousseff and the Workers Party.
The latest polls showed Rousseff leading Serra by a margin of 54 to 46 percent.
Many voters -- especially poor ones who had benefited from eight years of Lula's welfare largesse -- accepted Rousseff as his heir, but not enough for her to avoid the runoff with Serra.
Silva, born into an illiterate family of rubber-tappers in the Amazon, joined Lula's government in 2003. She left in 2008, joining the Green Party with an eye to taking over the presidency.