Brazil's Presidential Race: The Latest Twists
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Brazil’s presidential race has as many jaw-dropping twists as a Brazilian soap opera.
By Shannon Sims
This year’s Brazilian presidential election has been like no other, as full of unexpected plot twists as a Brazilian soap opera. And now the story’s changed again, with a surprise second-place finish by Aécio Neves, the right-leaning pro-business candidate. Marina Silva is out.
Neves is the Social Democracy Party candidate from a political family in the state of Minas Gerais — his grandfather, Tancredo Neves, was once elected president but died from illness before taking office. Neves’ finish re-establishes the polarity in Brazilian politics between the Workers’ Party and the Social Democracy Party, the same choice Brazilians have faced for the past 20 years. He’s a solid bet if you’re anti-Dilma Rousseff, the incumbent president, and he seems to have stolen many of those anti-Dilma votes away from Silva as she wobbled on key issues in the final stages. In keeping with her comet-like entrance into the race in August, when she briefly led in the polls, Silva burned out. The score this round: Rousseff, 42 percent of the vote; Neves, 34 percent; Silva, 21 percent.
But the show’s far from over. On Oct. 26, voters will head to the polls again in a runoff election, choosing between Rousseff and Neves. Silva seems likely to throw her 21 percent behind Neves. After all, she’s practically made a career of criticizing Rousseff. But she will need favors in return and will likely ask for different elements of her platform to be incorporated into his. This all means that the drama’s just revving up for the climax. Stay tuned.
OZY’s been all up in this. Last year, we compared and contrasted Rousseff with Hillary Clinton. We profiled Eduardo Campos, the opposition candidate, before his death this summer in a plane crash. And in September, amid hope and hype, we dared to ask “Who’s Afraid of Marina Silva?” Looks like a lot of Brazilians were.
- Shannon Sims, Based in Brazil, Shannon is OZY’s Latin American correspondent and legal voice. In her many lives, she’s taught elementary school in Harlem, managed a hotel in Italy and researched forests in Brazil. A University of Texas law grad raised in Louisiana, she prefers cowboy boots over heels, and hot sauce over everything. Follow Shannon Sims on Twitter Follow Shannon Sims on FacebookContact Shannon Sims