By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The voters in the state of Rio de Janeiro went to the polls on Sunday to vote for president, governor, senator and federal and state representatives. Residents from Rio de Janeiro voted massively for the two left-wing presidential candidates – Dilma Rousseff (35.6 percent) and Marina Silva (31 percent) – but were a bit more dispersed when it came down to voting for state and congressional representatives.
In the state’s gubernatorial race, incumbent governor, Luiz Fernando Souza, better known as Pezão, of the PMDB (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party) received 40.57 percent of the valid votes and will face in the second round of elections Senator Marcelo Crivella, of the PRB (Brazilian Republican Party), a conservative bishop from the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, who received 20.26 percent of the votes.
Former Rio de Janeiro governor, Anthony Garotinho who led the polls at the beginning of the gubernatorial campaign came in third, with 19.73 percent of the votes. Despite a massive campaign, the PT (Worker’s Party) candidate, Lindberg Farias, received only 10 percent of the votes, coming in far behind.
Although Pezão (which in Portuguese means ‘Bigfoot’) was Sergio Cabral’s vice governor during the past eight years and a member of the PMDB, the political party of Brazil’s Vice-President, Michel Temer, the candidate did not receive support from the PT (Worker’s Party), which chose instead to launch its own candidate.
Local media reports that Vice President Temer has already informed Pezão that President Rousseff is also unlikely to actively campaign for either of the two candidates in this second round. Senator Crivella, a former Fisheries Minister under the Rousseff Administration, however, is expected to receive support from the local PT chapter as well as from Garotinho for the second round on October 26th.
Elected on Sunday, to the Senate, was also one of Brazil’s most famous soccer players, Romario. The soccer star obtained 4.7 million votes, making him the most voted senator in Rio de Janeiro’s history.
On social media, Romario thanked his followers saying that his election was proof that the population was tired of only voting for the higher classes “My parents, not even in their wildest dreams imagined that the boy who left the maternity ward in a shoe box would one day occupy one of the highest posts in the country. Today, a former favela (community) resident has become a senator of the Republic. Thank You.”
For the upcoming 2015-2018 legislative term, representatives from Rio de Janeiro at the Chamber of Deputies in Brasilia will also include delegates who are as different as Jair Bolsonaro a conservative, outspoken anti-left-wing, anti-homosexual politician who says he is ‘voice of the conservative right’; Jean Wyllys, a former BBB (Big Brother Brazil) and a declared homosexual; and Miro Teixeira, a career politician with more than forty years as a federal representative, passing through six different political parties during that time; and Clarissa Garotinho, Marco Antonio Cabral and Rodrigo Maia, daughter and sons of former Rio governors and mayor.
Despite concerns of violence, there were no reports of serious incidences during the election with more than 29,000 military police officers at hand to guarantee security at polling stations.