The Brazilian Socialist Party is likely to announce environmentalist Marina Silva as its presidential candidate next week, replacing party leader Eduardo Campos who was killed in a plane clash, three leading local newspapers have reported.
The PSB, as the opposition party is known, has agreed to rally around a Silva candidacy despite misgivings among some prominent members about her conservationist views and other issues such as economic policy, according to reports in Folha de S.Paulo , O Estado de S.Paulo and O Globo on Saturday.
There appears to be consensus in the party that Marina should take Eduardo's place.
Silva's candidacy is likely to be formally announced at a party meeting scheduled for August 20, Folha said, adding that her running mate is expected to be Beto Albuquerque, a PSB congressman from the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. Globo and Estado , however, said the party was still undecided on who would be Silva's running mate.
"There appears to be consensus in the party that Marina should take Eduardo's place," Roberto Freire, leader of the Popular Socialist Party, told Reuters.
Silva, who was running as Campos' vice presidential candidate on the PSB ticket, has told party leaders that she is willing to run in his place, the papers reported, citing unnamed sources who met her in Sao Paulo late on Friday.
Campos, a popular former governor of Pernambuco state, was killed in a plane crash on Wednesday on the way to a campaign event in the southeastern coastal city of Santos.
Silva, who placed a strong third in the 2010 presidential race as the Green Party candidate, is hugely popular among younger voters who are disillusioned with Brazil's political establishment. A devout Christian, she also has a loyal following among evangelical voters, an increasingly influential demographic in Brazil.
A Silva candidacy could deprive President Dilma Rousseff of the votes she needs to avoid a runoff between the two best-placed candidates.