Brazil electoral campaigns open as voters wait for Marina Silva’s nomination

Deputy Beto Albuquerque will be the Brazilian Social Party nominee for vice president

Marina Silva on Tuesday in Brasilia.
Marina Silva on Tuesday in Brasilia. ERALDO PERES (AP)

Brazilian presidential candidates hit the airwaves while Marina Silva continues to build the suspense around her possible nomination for the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) ticket. The party will officially announce its presidential nominee on Wednesday. But, the picture is getting clearer. On Tuesday, PSB chose Rio Grande do Sul deputy Beto Albuquerque as its vice presidential nominee.

Renata Campos, Eduardo Campos’ widow, was one of the names on the short list after her husband died in a plane crash last week. Her opinion carries a lot of weight within the party but sources close to the organization say Renata will focus on taking care of her family for the next few years, especially her five children. “I don’t know if she wants to but if she wants it, the post is hers,” Albuquerque said on Saturday.

Albuquerque is a member of the PSB executive board and he has had a long career as a Socialist politician. He was Campos’ right-hand man. The board meets today to formalize his nomination as PSB’s vice presidential candidate.

TV ads are important in Brazil because they sway undecided voters. The commotion around Campos’ death is leading the campaign. The PSB leader was buried on Sunday in Recife, the capital of Pernambuco state. His name was the most repeated word during the parties’ appearances on radio and television. During its 2.3 minutes of allotted air time, PSB showed a short film of Campos campaigning around the country. “We are not going to get discouraged and we are going to build a great union in Brazil, with the Brazilian people,” he said. The video also contains some shots of him with voters and with his family.

Dilma Rousseff (Workers Party, PT) Aécio Neves (Brazilian Social Democratic Party, PSDB) also mentioned Campos in their segments. Former President Lula da Silva, PT’s main asset, gave an homage to Campos on behalf of his entire party. Lula recalls the father-son relationship he shared with the man who was science and technology minister during his first term in office. “His last words must be remembered,” Lula said. “We are never going to abandon you, Brazil.” Rousseff, on the other hand, defended her record in office, saying that the administration had created millions of jobs “while 60 million jobs were being destroyed abroad.”

President Rousseff has already won in terms of visibility. Her nine-party coalition earned her 11.24 minutes of air time. Neves received less than 4.35 minutes despite pulling in support from nine different organizations. His supporters are, however, less numerous. The Workers Party, on the other hand, has the support of the Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB) which has 72 of parliament’s 512 seats. It is the the second largest group after PT. The Workers Party holds 87 seats.

But, sometimes, time is not the most important factor. Marina Silva only had 23 seconds during the 2010 electoral campaign. Yet, she ran against Rousseff and received 20 million votes.

Translation: Dyane Jean François

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