Marina Silva to Run for Brazil Presidency, Replacing Campos

Marina Silva will be named by the Brazilian Socialist Party to replace Eduardo Campos as its presidential candidate, said Rodrigo Rollemberg, a party leader.

Campos, four members of his campaign team and two pilots died on Aug. 13 when a Cessna 560XL crashed in the southeastern city of Santos. The remains of Campos were buried today in Recife, the capital of Pernambuco, where he was governor until April. President Dilma Rousseff and opposition presidential candidate Aecio Neves were among thousands of mourners that attended the wake and Funeral Mass earlier today.

“It’s decided. It will be Marina,” Senator Rollemberg, a member of the party’s executive, said in an interview in Recife. The PSB, as the party is known, is scheduled to meet Aug. 20 to announce the decision and lawmaker Beto Albuquerque is favored to be her running mate, he said.

Silva, 56, became the wild card in Brazilian politics after Campos died. She placed third in the 2010 national election against Rousseff with 19 percent of the vote as the Green Party’s candidate. She was picked by Campos as a running mate in April.

Silva now stands to upset the campaigns of her two leading contenders. Her candidacy increases the chances of a second-round vote and she may draw more support than Neves, who could slip into third place, said David Fleischer, a professor of political science at the University of Brasilia.

Tapping Discontent

“She has the potential, she will tap into widespread discontent,” Fleischer said in a phone interview.

In this year’s race, Campos was running in third place, polling 9 percent. Neves from the Brazilian Social Democracy Party had 23 percent, and Rousseff garnered 38 percent in the Aug. 3-6 Ibope survey. The margin of error was plus or minus two percentage points.

The Ibovespa rose Aug. 15, the most in four weeks, on speculation Silva would run for president, dimming prospects for Rousseff’s re-election. The Sao Paulo stock exchange gauge climbed 2.1 percent to 56,963.65 at the close, extending its gain for the week to 2.5 percent.

“There’s still a lot of doubt regarding Silva’s government program and views, but investors are focusing now on the fact that there are less chances of Rousseff winning,” Guilherme da Nobrega, the chief economist at the brokerage firm Guide Investimentos, said in an Aug. 15 phone interview from Sao Paulo.

Orthodox Policy

Silva is remembered by investors and some business people as a candidate who committed in 2010 to orthodox fiscal and monetary policy that she would leave in the hands of ministers with top-level expertise, Citigroup Inc. analyst Stephen H. Graham wrote in an Aug. 13 report.

Campos’s and Silva’s economic adviser, Eduardo Giannetti, said in a May interview Brazil needs to rein in spending and increase interest rates at the outset of the next government to help ease inflationary pressure.

Silva would support the central bank’s autonomy to implement monetary policy, Walter Feldman, a spokesman for Silva said in an interview today. He said her allies are still debating whether a law granting the bank’s board formal independence is needed.

“She has a market-friendly tone but the question is whether she can deliver,” Andre Cesar, director at public policy and business strategy consultants Prospectiva, said in a phone interview. “Her economic policies are still quite nebulous.”

Rubber Trees

Silva spent her childhood tapping rubber trees in the Amazon rain forest and worked as a maid. She entered politics fighting deforestation in the Amazon alongside the legendary conservationist Chico Mendes, who was assassinated in 1988.

As environment minister under President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, she sought tighter regulations for large infrastructure projects, such as the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam. She stepped down when Lula overlooked her in appointing the chief of a new Amazon task force.

Her stance on environmental issues has alienated some members of her party whose constituencies have strong roots in farming and agribusiness, Fleischer said.

“She can clearly force a second round and even has a chance of winning,” Fleischer said. “But she’ll hit a ceiling because she’s seen as a bit radical on some issues.”

Campos’s Wake

Campos’s coffin arrived late on Saturday and was carried on top of a fire truck from the airport to the city center. At a wake during the early morning hours supporters applauded and chanted “We won’t give up on Brazil,” repeating a slogan Campos used during the campaign.

Leading politicians from government and opposition, including former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, were present during Mass. Thousands of mourners walked by to pay their respects, touching the coffin, hugging family members and singing hymns.

Campos is survived by his wife, Renata de Andrade Lima Campos, and five children: Maria Eduarda, Joao, Pedro, Jose Henrique and Miguel.

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