The surprise showing by the Green Party under Marina Silva is likely to lead only to the lightest shade of greening by Rousseff and Serra. Rather, the two candidates will need to woo the evangelical Christian vote, which is focused on preventing abortion and gay marriage. Moves to trip up the development agenda through still more onerous environmental and other licensing is thus unlikely.
Silva has found her base not only in disaffected green voters, but the growing evangelical community. She herself is a member of the Assembly of God church. Rousseff, who was tainted by insinuations that she would ease abortion laws, has already announced that her campaign will focus on harvesting the Christian vote, a move that has received the blessing of outgoing President Lula.
For investors, one of Roussseff's strong points was the idea that she would streamline the bureaucratic environmental agency, Ibama. Indeed, she clashed with Marina Silva when the latter was Minister for the Environment over slow and onerous licensing processes and is believed to be the person responsible for Silva's decision to leave the Workers' Party government. Rousseff's developmental instincts are unlikely to be blunted by the larger-than-expected Green vote.
The second round of elections in Brazil will be held on October 30.