Rousseff courts Brazil’s faith voters with “for life” comments
(Photo: Brazilian presidential candidate Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia, October 5, 2010/Ueslei Marcelino)
Brazil’s ruling party candidate Dilma Rousseff is playing up her Roman Catholic background in efforts to win back religious voters, whose doubts about her faith and position on abortion rights may have cost her an outright victory in Sunday’s presidential election.
In a surprise shift, many religious voters who oppose abortion, especially evangelical Christians, abandoned Rousseff’s center-left Workers’ Party to vote for the Green Party’s Marina Silva, who captured an unexpectedly large 19 percent of the vote.
“Personally, I’m from a Catholic family. I am and always was in favor of life,” Rousseff told reporters on Tuesday outside of her campaign headquarters in Brasilia. “I have no problem addressing the religious issue. My project addresses all the religions.”
She did not elaborate. Internet videos in recent weeks showed Rousseff, a former leftist guerrilla leader, apparently favoring the decriminalization of abortion, which is illegal in most cases.
Evangelical Christians are growing in influence in Brazil and now make up about 20 percent of the population in the overwhelmingly Catholic country.
Here’s one of those Rousseff videos (in Portuguese) making the rounds — Dilma Rousseff é favorável à legalização do aborto (Dilma Rousseff favours legalisation of abortion):