Beaten Silva party backs Brazil challenger Neves

Agence France-Presse
The national executive committee of Silva's Socialist Party (PSB) cast 21 votes in favor of Neves against one for Rousseff and 7 for a neutral stance during a meeting in Brasilia
Brazil's presidential candidate for the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB), Aecio Neves, attends a campaign meeting with female supporters in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on September 17, 2014. Nelson Almeida/AFP

BRASÍLIA, Brazil – The party of beaten Brazil presidential candidate Marina Silva said Wednesday, October 8, it is backing Social Democrat challenger Aecio Neves in his run-off battle against incumbent Dilma Rousseff.

The national executive committee of Silva’s Socialist Party (PSB) cast 21 votes in favor of Neves against one for Rousseff and 7 for a neutral stance during a meeting in Brasilia, party official Vera Canfran said.

Earlier reports had suggested the PSB, a former ally of Rousseff’s Workers Party (PT) was split.

Neves, campaigning in Brasilia, said: “There is a clear feeling of change in Brazil and my candidature is the only one responding to that.”

Three other parties, including the Greens, who Silva stood for in 2010, earlier said they would back Neves, and Silva is herself expected to publicly back Neves Thursday, October 9.

Neves defied weeks of polls that showed him clearly trailing Silva when he earned a second-round place with 33.6% to Silva’s 21.3%.

Rousseff topped the poll with 41.59% for her Workers Party, which is seeking a fourth straight term in power.

Neves will need around 60% of Silva’s electorate of 22 million to unseat Rousseff in the October 26 run-off.

Silva stood for the Socialists after replacing initial candidate and running mate Eduardo Campos, who died in an August air crash.

She previously spent decades in Rousseff’s party, serving as environment minister.

Rousseff and the PT have strong working-class support following a decade-long rollout of huge welfare programs that have lifted tens of millions of people out of poverty.

But the economy is now in recession and Rousseff is also battling corruption scandals fingering dozens of politicians, most from or allied to her party.

Stock market darling Neves is promising less government interventionism to pull the economy off the rocks.

The government suffered more negative news on the financial front Wednesday with inflation surpassing the 6.5% upper limit of the central bank’s target range.

Brazil’s inflation reached 6.75% in September, according to national statistics institute IBGE.

The Sao Paulo stock market slipped 0.66% Wednesday after adding 5.3% over the two previous days, as the horse-trading began in earnest for the run-off vote. –

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