May 24, 2013
Brazil: PT’s Haddad wins Sao Paulo runoff
SAO PAULO — Fernando Haddad, the candidate of Brazil’s ruling Workers Party (PT), won yesterday's mayoral runoff election in Sao Paulo, according to official figures released last night.
With 98 percent of the votes counted, Haddad had secured 55.6 percent of valid ballots, against 44 percent for opposition Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) candidate José Serra, a former presidential candidate and veteran politician.
Haddad's win over Serra, announced by the Brazilian Electoral Court last night, came despite the fallout of the high-profile political corruption scandal in which the PT is embroiled, locally known as mensalão.
Twenty-five of the 37 former ministers, lawmakers, businessmen and bankers facing prosecution before the Supreme Court have been charged with corruption over a scheme to buy votes in Congress from 2002 to 2005 during Lula's first term.
They include Lula's former chief of staff José Dirceu. While Lula was cleared, the scandal nearly cost the 66-year-old his reelection in 2006.
Haddad, a 49-year-old former education minister, will succeed the incumbent Gilberto Kassab as mayor of Brazil's most populous and wealthiest city. Serra, who previously served as mayor, state governor and senator, finished first on the October 7 first round with 30.7 percent, ahead of Haddad with 29 percent.
The new mayor will have the difficult task of modernizing this vibrant metropolis of 11 million people, one of the 12 Brazilian cities that will host the 2014 World Cup.
This will include tackling Sao Paulo's glaring economic inequality, inadequate mass transit system, horrendous traffic, shortage of low-income housing and large drug addict population.
The Sao Paulo race was the biggest prize in yesterday's nationwide municipal runoff vote which was seen by analysts as a gauge of the balance of power between the PT and the PSDB which have been alternating at the helm of the country for the past 18 years.
Nearly 32 million Brazilians in this continent-sized country of 194 million were registered to vote to choose the mayors of 50 cities with more than 200,000 people, including 17 of the country's 26 state capitals.
With yesterday’s win, the PT wins back the Sao Paulo mayorship after eight years. The party had governed Sao Paulo from 2001 to 2005, under mayor Marta Suplicy.
Herald with Télam, news outlets