August 21, 2014 / 7:20 PM / 3 years ago

Brazil Socialist Party campaign manager quits after Silva named candidate

BRASILIA, Aug 21 (Reuters) - The Brazilian Socialist Party’s campaign manager quit on Thursday hours after environmentalist Marina Silva became its presidential candidate, causing a rift in her team just 45 days before the election.

Carlos Siqueira, a close aide to the party’s late leader Eduardo Campos, who was killed in a plane crash last week, said he could not work with the new candidate and someone else should be chosen.

Silva, a popular anti-establishment figure whose candidacy has shaken up Brazil’s Oct. 5 presidential election, said Siqueira’s departure was a “misunderstanding.” Party officials said another campaign manager would be named by the end of the day.

Silva joined the PSB less than a year ago after failing to register her own party in time for this year’s general election. The lesser-known Campos picked her as his running mate to draw her large number of supporters.

His death on Aug. 13 thrust Silva into a presidential race that she could win, according to an opinion poll published on Monday that showed her just ahead of President Dilma Rousseff in a second-round runoff between the two.

Silva accepted the party’s nomination on Wednesday and insisted on naming her own aides to joint positions with PSB officials as campaign manager, treasurer and policy coordinator.

Silva, a 56-year-old pioneer of Brazil’s environmental movement, entered politics to fight for Amazon conservation and earned the wrath of the country’s powerful agribusiness lobby as environment minister a decade ago.

To defuse opposition in the agriculture sector, the PSB picked Beto Albuquerque, a farm-friendly congressman from Rio Grande do Sul state and a supporter of genetically modified crops, as her running mate.

Silva’s team quickly made changes to the PSB campaign, announcing on Wednesday that contributions would no longer be accepted from companies that make fertilizer, cigarettes, alcoholic drinks and guns. (Reporting by Anthony Boadle and Maria Carolina Marcello; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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