Brazil ruling party steady in local election

Sun Oct 5, 2008 11:08pm EDT
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By Raymond Colitt

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's ruling Workers' Party appeared to have held its ground in local elections on Sunday but did worse than expected in Sao Paulo, the country's largest city.

The Workers' Party, or PT, won mayoral races in six of 27 state capitals and will compete in an October 26 run-off vote in another three state capitals. The PT now governs eight state capitals.

The PT won the northeastern state capitals of Recife and Fortaleza, the southeastern capital of Vitoria, as well as the northern state capitals of Porto Velho, Palmas and Rio Branco, official results showed.

Party officials said they had also done well in smaller cities and celebrated the election results.

"We are satisfied. This is our best performance yet (in municipal elections)," Paulo Ferreira, PT Treasurer, told Reuters.

In the financial capital Sao Paulo, Marta Suplicy of the PT won 32.5 percent of the vote, against the 33.7 percent of the incumbent mayor, Gilberto Kassab of the conservative DEM party, based on 95 percent of the ballots counted.

An opinion poll on Thursday had projected a 9 percentage point lead for Suplicy over Kassab in Sao Paulo, a city of 17 million people. Short of the necessary absolute majority, they face a second round.

Before the election, Lula's party governed 17 of Brazil's 79 largest cities.   Continued...

<p>Residents line up to vote in Sao Paulo October 5, 2008. Nearly 130 million voters were being called out for the elections, which are to select mayors and councillors for the country's 5,563 towns and cities. REUTERS/Rodrigo Paiva</p>