By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – This year’s municipal elections in Brazil will have 1,542 foreign-born naturalized-Brazilians running for city council and mayoral posts, including for mayor in two state capitals.
That is the case of Carlos Enrique Franco Amastha. Amastha candidate of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) was born in Barranquilla, Colombia and is trying to be re-elected as mayor of Palmas, Tocantins. In 2012, Amastha made history by being the first foreign-born elected mayor of a Brazilian capital.
“I’m seeking re-election because it is frustrating leaving projects unfinished,” said Amastha recently in a TV interview. “We have implemented a lot of projects, but there is still much to be done.”
Another naturalized Brazilian seeking the mayoral post, is José Luis Oca, born in Bolivar, Venezuela. With an engineering degree and studying law, Oca, of the left-wing Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) is trying to become mayor of Boa Vista, capital of Roraima state, in Sunday’s nationwide municipal elections.
The data from Brazil’s Superior Electoral Court (TSE), according to news outlet G1, shows that 0.3 percent of candidates in this Sunday’s elections were born in other countries, later becoming Brazilian citizens.
According to the TSE, 58 of the foreign-born candidates are from Portugal, and have equal political rights under Brazilian electoral law. Under the law, Portuguese citizens residing in Brazil for more than three years may run for public office in the South American country. Other naturalized-Brazilian candidates come from countries as far away as China, Angola and Palestine, as well as the United States, Germany, Spain, and Bolivia.