By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Fernando Haddad (PT) has been elected mayor of São Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city and business center, in a hard-fought second round of voting in Brazil’s municipal elections. He beat rival José Serra (PSDB) into second place with a comfortable margin: 55.57 percent to 44.43 percent. Haddad had come a close second to Serra in the first round.
The PT candidate had enjoyed the backing of popular ex-president Lula and his successor, incumbent president Dilma Rousseff. The elections have been viewed as a mid-term litmus test on the state of the political parties.
Serra had leveraged the mensalão trial against Haddad, who left his Minister for Education position to run for mayor, after a number of PT politicians were sentenced to jail terms in the high-profile cash-for-votes scandal.
Haddad said in his victory speech that he would “put an end to inequality” in São Paulo, which he said had to be “first and foremost a home, a clean, decent roof for every family to make their dream of being happy come true” and that the city belonged to everyone in Brazil.
More poignantly, he reminded people that the cities is “one of the richest and yet most unequal in the world.” On Monday, Haddad flew to Brasília to meet with President Rousseff at the Planalto, and later announced his first move would be to free up plots of land in the city for new hospitals and crèches.
Overall in the municipal elections, three parties – the PT, PMDB and PSDB – took control of around half of the electorate, with the PT leading in bigger cities, and the PMDB in smaller ones. The PSB managed to take the most capitals, and although the PT lost some significant cities – including Salvador, Fortaleza and Campinas – those losses most likely pale into insignificance with the São Paulo victory under their belt.
Read more (in Portuguese).
* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.