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Brazilians vote in runoff mayoral elections

 Green Party candidate Fernando Gabeira greets supporters after voting during the mayoral elections in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008. ...

Brazil Elections

Green Party candidate Fernando Gabeira greets supporters after voting during the mayoral elections in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008. ...

An ex-guerrilla who once kidnapped a U.S. ambassador has a chance to become mayor of Rio de Janeiro on Sunday in nationwide municipal elections that Brazil's ruling party is expected to dominate.
But while President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's Workers' Party should gain power in many cities, it appears poised to lose Brazil's biggest _ Sao Paulo _ where incumbent Mayor Gilberto Kassab leads Workers' Party challenger Marta Suplicy.
In Rio de Janeiro, polls show Fernando Gabeira _ a guerrilla-turned-congressman who in 1969 helped abduct the U.S. ambassador _ in a technical tie with Eduardo Paes in the runoff for the mayorship of Brazil's second-largest city.
Both the Ibope and the Datafolha polling institutes released numbers late Saturday showing Gabeira, of the Green Party, with 49 percent of the votes and Paes, of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, with 51 percent. The difference was within the surveys' margin of error.
"It's a tight race, but we remain confident in the victory," Gabeira said after voting.
Gabeira helped kidnap the U.S. ambassador to Rio, Charles Elbrick, to protest the military dictatorship. Elbrick was released unhurt four days later, but Gabeira has been banned from entering the U.S. ever since. Elbrick died in 1983.
If elected, the soft-spoken, bespectacled, motorcycle-riding Gabeira would join a growing number of former revolutionaries holding government posts in Brazil.
The president's social communication minister, Franklin Martins, also took part in Elbrick's kidnapping. Chief of staff Dilma Rousseff, a likely presidential contender in 2010, played a leading role in the armed resistance to the 1964-1985 dictatorship.
Gabeira has pledged to work to end the long-running violence in Rio's slums.
Despite the Sao Paulo loss, the Silva's Workers Party put in a strong showing in first-round voting Oct. 5, winning elections in 137 cities, including six of the 27 state capitals.


Updated : 2021-07-24 19:23 GMT+08:00