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DEMOCRACY
Brazil environment icon to decide on presidential bid
by Staff Writers
Brasilia (AFP) Oct 04, 2013


The political future of former former Brazilian presidential candidate Marina Silva was unclear Friday after she failed to gather enough signatures to register her new party for next year's elections.

Silva, who won nearly 20 million votes in the first round of the 2010 poll, said she would announce Saturday whether she will choose a different party affiliation if she wants to enter next October's presidential race.

"I am still in a process of deciding. I have a long night and a day," she told a press conference.

"We are continuing discussions, with our representatives and leaders," she added.

On Thursday, the country's electoral court ruled 6-1 that Silva had failed to collect enough signatures to register her new party, Sustainability Network, in time for the 2014 election.

The former Senator bullishly insisted that the court ruling did not represent "a defeat" in a post on Twitter.

Opinion polls have consistently put Silva, who served as environment minister for five years from 2003 under then president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, as the strongest opposition rival to President Dilma Rousseff in next year's election.

She is the only candidate who has been on an ascending curve in the presidential polls, even during the massive street protests that rocked the country in June.

One of the parties which could welcome the 55-year-old politician is the recently created National Ecological Party PEN.

The deadline for securing a party affiliation expires Saturday, a year before the October 5 presidential polls.

Brazil govt backs natives on land demarcation
Brazilian authorities on Friday sided with protesting natives and slammed as unconstitutional an amendment that would give lawmakers authority to approve and demarcate indigenous lands.

Hundreds of indigenous militants have flocked to Brasilia over the past few days to protest the amendment, which critics say has been designed to benefit a powerful pro-agribusiness bloc in Congress.

The main target of ire is PEC 215, a constitutional reform that would transfer from the executive branch to Congress the authority to approve and demarcate native lands and environmental conservation parks.

The Justice Ministry forwarded a legal finding to the House of Deputies, railing against the amendment.

"We believe this measure is not only ill-timed and inappropriate but also unconstitutional," said Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo.

Indigenous activists, however, still insist that President Dilma Rousseff's government is flouting their rights.

Roughly 12 percent of Brazil's territory is currently recognized as indigenous territories. Native Indians grouped in 305 tribes represent less than 0.5 percent of the more than 200 million Brazilians.

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