The result of this Sunday’s presidential run-off vote in Brazil depends on the 20 percent-or-so of the electorate who voted for neither Dilma Rousseff nor Jose Serra in the first round, but for Marina Silva.
The Green Party candidate, who did not make it to the second round spoke to euronews from Brasilia.
Miguel Sardo, euronews: Marina Silva, which of these two candidates do you think will appeal most to the 20 million voters who backed you in the first round?
Marina Silva, former Brazilian Presidential candidate: The people who voted for my party in the first round made their position clear – they care about sustainable development. We decided to let the voters decide exactly how much each candidate should engage in the debate, and then to let the candidates decide for themselves, in a free and informed way, what would be the best thing for Brazil and for the planet as a whole.
euronews: It is reported that the two presidential candidates agree with some of your policies, particularly the end of deforestation in the Amazon basin. But is it possible, given an emerging economy like Brazil’s, to balance industrial development and large-scale agriculture with the needs of the environment?
Marina Silva: The candidates accepted the parts of our manifesto we presented. Dilma Rousseff took a certain number of propositions on board, more than Serra. One of the things we emphasised was the need for a development model which protects our natural resources, particularly a law which would keep our forests as they are. 60 percent of Brazil is covered by forest and it is entirely possible to reconcile this with our industry in a way to create jobs and profits without damaging the environment. The big challenge facing us as we start this century is to successfully marry up the economy with the environment. And Brazil is the best-placed to do that.
euronews: How much do you think environmental issues should impact on Brazil’s foreign policy? China is an important trading partner and Brazil’s president Lula da Silva has so far kept quiet about the Nobel Peace Prize going to a Chinese dissident.
Marina Silva: Some significant advances have been made in foreign policy under President Lula. He has had really good relations across the board – with the G20, the G77, with fellow countries particularly African countries, based on reciprocal cooperation, all this is great. But it is vital to keep our policies intertwined with the defence of our fundamental values: human rights, democracy, the freedom of expression, these are values which we must defend.
euronews: How do you think the power of this “green tidal wave” can be channelled in the future? Would you be prepared to return to government?
Marina Silva: I have already done five and a half years as Environment Minister for Lula. I am planning now to return to social campaigning, particularly for a movement called “Sustainable Brazil”. We have set up an institute dedicated to democracy and sustainability and I will be working more for that than for the Green Party. But I will be keeping an eye on environmental policies, to make sure they keep moving forward. Brazil must advance in terms of economy, society and the environment.
euronews: Marina Silva, thank you. You are keeping silent, however, about your voting plans for this Sunday…maybe to leave the door open for a possible presidential bid in four years time?
Marina Silva: Well, as I always say, I am not thinking about the next election at all. I am working to make sure a third way is open for Brazil and I don’t want to put myself forward as a candidate.