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Brazil's ruling party candidate makes environmental vows to attract undecided votes

10-21-2010 14:15 BJT

RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- The presidential candidate of Brazil's ruling Workers' Party on Wednesday vowed to cut deforestation in the Amazon rainforest region by 80 percent, in a bid to woo voters from the Green Party that advocates sustainable development.

Dilma Rousseff, handpicked by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, made the pledge during an event with environmentalists, including some who voted for Green Party's candidate Marina Silva in the first round of the elections on Oct. 3.

During the event, NGO Greenpeace demanded that Rousseff be committed to a zero deforestation policy in Brazil. But she said that she did not want to make promises she could not keep and refused.

"I make proposals which I know are viable. We all want zero deforestation here, but between wanting and making it, there is a process. Today, we commit to reducing the deforestation by 80 percent," Rousseff said.

"I do not want to win anything if I cannot look into your eyes and say: I promised, I make it," she added.

During the event, Rousseff also made 13 additional environmental commitments, including a promise to veto any initiative to suspend punishment against deforesters or to reduce conservation areas.

Rousseff and her rival, Jose Serra from the opposition Brazilian Social Democratic Party, are competing fiercely to gain support from Silva's followers. The Green Party's candidate received 19.6 million votes, or 19.3 percent, in the first round, and chose to maintain its independence in the runoff.

"There is a difference between independence and neutrality. Neutrality is when you are absent from the process," she said in a radio interview on Monday.

The Green Party has sent both runoff candidates a 42-point document which they considered essential to "a fairer and more sustainable Brazil".

According to Silva, the Workers Party's response to the proposals was more positive than the opposition's. Despite that, the party prefers not to officially support either side in the Oct. 31 runoff.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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