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Surprise-package Silva shakes up Brazil vote

Presidential candidate for the Brazilian Socialist Party Marina Silva participates in a television debate in Sao Paulo, Brazil on August 26, 2014Popular environmentalist Marina Silva has shaken up Brazil’s presidential election since her sudden entry into the race, surging to a surprise lead in opinion polls and impressing in her first debate. Silva, who says she wants to be Brazil’s first “poor, black” president, has emerged as a serious threat since taking over the top spot on the Socialist ticket following her late running mate Eduardo Campos’s death in a plane crash on August 13. Several polls since Campos’s death have found Silva, a 56-year-old former environment minister, would unseat incumbent Dilma Rousseff in an October 26 runoff election. Silva also delivered a commanding performance in the first presidential debate Tuesday night, forcefully criticizing Rousseff and Social Democrat Aecio Neves, the candidate who had been in second place until Campos’s death.

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