SAO PAULO – Brazil’s Green Party, whose presidential candidate finished a strong third in the first round of voting, will not endorse anyone in the Oct. 31 runoff between ruling party standard-bearer Dilma Rousseff and challenger Jose Serra.
The party’s executive committee voted 76-4 in favor of remaining officially neutral, Green chairman and congressman-elect Jose Luiz Penna said.
Party members have “complete freedom to come out in favor of either candidate – they may even take part in advertising and public events, but always at a personal level and not in the name of the Green Party, Penna said.
The ruling Workers Party and Serra’s Brazilian Social Democratic Party, or PSDB, had anxiously awaited the Green Party’s decision.
Rousseff, with 46.9 percent of the vote, led the first round, followed by Serra, who got 32.6 percent, and the Green’s Marina Silva, who took a surprising 19.6 percent of the balloting.
Sen. Silva, a former environment minister, had presented to the Workers Party and the PSDB a statement of agreements on programs, emphasizing education and the environment, to determine whether the party would decide to back either Rousseff or Serra.
But Silva had previously announced that independent of her party’s decision, she would not support either of the candidates.
“The fact that we haven’t lined up with either candidate at this time does not signify neutrality as to the direction the election takes,” Silva told a press conference, at which she said that her vote on Oct. 31 will be “secret.”
“The violence of the struggle for power (between the PT and PSDB), the destructive polarity, is smothering any policy for peace,” Silva said. EFE