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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - Beating leftist presidential candidates in Brazil's Northeast has been an impossible task for opponents since former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva established social income transfer programs in his government, such as the Bolsa Família (Family Grant), and launched specific projects for the region, like the never-ending transposition of the São Francisco River.

With the Workers' Party (PT) out of the Planalto Palace four years ago and power in the hands of its greatest rival, however, the leftists cities are gradually becoming less inhospitable to the party's challengers.

Among the . . .

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