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09 Nov 2014

View photo Presidential candidate Marina Silva of Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) takes part in a TV debate in Sao By Brian Winter SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Popular environmentalist Marina Silva looks capable of winning Brazil's presidential election in October but a major campaign gaffe and mounting attacks from other candidates and the media suggest the race is still wide open. Polls have shown Silva with a lead of about 10 percentage points over President Dilma Rousseff if the Oct. 5 election goes to a runoff, as seems likely. Silva's meteoric rise has led Brazilian stocks to rally 10 percent in the last three weeks on hopes she would be more business-friendly than Rousseff and help stir a stagnant economy. In the last week, Silva has successfully begun to address some of the doubts voters have about her - namely, whether she has the personal gravitas and organizational support to govern this continent-sized nation of 200 million people. An anti-establishment icon who grew up poor in a family of rubber tappers, taught herself to read as a teenager, and then became a leading advocate for the Amazon rainforest, Silva has inspired many Brazilians with her earnest demeanor and clear voice on moral issues. Yet many voters have been unconvinced that a great life story would make for a great president. Silva, 56, has struggled during her political career to recruit and maintain allies, having quit two parties since 2009 and failed to organize a third.
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