Brazil's PSB party to back Neves in runoff

Oct 09, 2014, 12:34 AM EDT
Brazil's presidential candidate of the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) Aecio Neves (C) waves during a campaign rally in Brasilia, Brazil on October 8, 2014.
AFP/Getty Images

The political party that launched environmentalist Marina Silva's unsuccessful presidential bid threw its support behind pro-business candidate Aecio Neves on Wednesday for Brazil's Oct. 26 runoff vote against leftist President Dilma Rousseff. Reuters reports:

The decision by the Brazilian Socialist Party increases the likelihood that the bulk of Silva's 22 million votes would go to Neves, raising his chances of defeating Rousseff.

Silva, an anti-establishment figure who wanted to change Brazilian politics by ending polarization between Neves and Rousseff's parties, came third in Sunday's first-round vote. She is expected to endorse Neves on Thursday.

Her backing is crucial for Neves, the market favorite running for the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB). Neves won 33.6 percent of the votes to Rousseff's 41.6 percent, a difference of 8 million votes.

Silva surged in the polls in late August when she was thrust into the race by the death of her running mate and original PSB presidential candidate Eduardo Campos in a plane crash.

But her popularity was undercut by an aggressive media blitz by Rousseff that linked her to Brazil's financial elite and questioned her ability to govern without the backing of traditional parties.

The economy takes center stage as incumbent President Dilma Rousseff takes on business-friendly challenger Aécio Neves in a runoff election Oct. 26. Time writes:

Brazil’s faltering economy will be high in voters’ minds when they return to the polls Oct. 26 for a second-round face-off in the country’s presidential election.

President Dilma Rousseff, whose Workers’ Party has run Brazil since 2003, won 41.59% of votes cast in a first-round poll on October 5 — not quite enough to beat outright Aécio Neves, a business-friendly candidate who was twice governor of Minas Gerais state.

Neves, who had been trailing in third place in polls, came second with 33.55% in the latest in a series of upsets in a volatile campaign.