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Brazil ruling party loses Sao Paulo mayoral race

Brazil ruling party loses Sao Paulo mayoral race

Brazil's ruling party lost its chance to retake the mayorship of South America's biggest city on Sunday, while an ex-guerrilla who once kidnapped a U.S. ambassador failed in his bid to become mayor of Rio de Janeiro.
Incumbent Sao Paulo Mayor Gilberto Kassab, of the conservative Democrat Party, was 21 points ahead of Workers Party's Marta Suplicy with nearly 99 percent of the votes counted.
Suplicy, a former Sao Paulo mayor and a former tourism minister, lost the key race despite the outspoken support of popular President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Suplicy's defeat gives Silva's Workers Party an added challenge to get his successor elected in the 2010 presidential race, as mayors are seen as powerful vote gatherers in general elections.
Despite the loss, the Workers Party put in a strong showing in first-round voting Oct. 5, winning the municipal elections in more than 135 cities, including some state capitals.
With almost 100 percent of the votes counted in Rio de Janeiro, former guerrilla Fernando Gabeira, of the Green Party, trailed Eduardo Paes, of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, by 1 percentage point in the runoff for the mayorship of Brazil's second-largest city.
In 1969, Gabeira helped kidnap the U.S. ambassador in 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.
The soft-spoken, bespectacled, motorcycle-riding Gabeira was hoping to 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.
Marcia Rocha, a 54-year-old lawyer strolling on Ipanema beach on Sunday, said Gabeira's path as a militant made him a good candidate today.
"He put himself at risk to represent people living under a dictatorship," she said. "He remains the same fighter today he was then. He will continue to fight for ideas that will improve Rio."
Gabeira had pledged to work to end the long-running violence in Rio's slums.


Updated : 2020-12-06 07:25 GMT+08:00