Despite Loss of Sí£o Paulo, Brazil’s Ruling Coalition Makes 63% of Mayors

President Lula of Brazil A day after Sunday's municipal election, Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, called for national union and promised to work with the winning mayors and city councilors no matter what party they belong to.

"Mayors play a leading role and I'm not interested in knowing to which political party they belong, I only want to know who is the mayor because he has the same responsibility as I do in helping to solve people's problems," said Lula during his weekly radio program "Breakfast with the President".

On Sunday there was an only  winner, "the Brazilian people who freely elected their candidates," underlined the president.

Lula, who is riding on a popularity rating close to 80%, recalled that during the electoral campaign, "not one single candidate criticized me" and they all underlined the good relations between the federal government and local town halls.

"I'm convinced this association will be even closer." he emphasized.

However the big cooperation test will be in São Paulo where conservative incumbent Gilberto Kassab defeated with 60.7% of the votes Lula's Workers' Party candidate Martha Suplicy who only managed 39.3% in the Sunday run off.

Kassab two great allies in the victory were former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and current São Paulo governor José Serra, virtually the conservative presidential hopeful for 2010.

This was particularly difficult for Lula da Silva since he only campaigned strongly for Ms Suplicy in São Paulo.

In Rio do Janeiro, which together with São Paulo and Belo Horizonte are the core of political and economic power in Brazil, Eduardo Paes from the centrist party Brazilian Democratic Movement, PMDB, and a coalition ally of Lula, narrowly defeated the "green party" candidate Fernando Gabeira.

However in Belo Horizonte, the Workers' Party and conservatives managed to share victory with Mário Lacerda. He garnered 59.1% of the vote and Leonardo Quintão from PMDB, 40.9% in the run off.

The Workers' Party also suffered another two major setbacks. In Porto Alegre, capital of Rio Grande do Sul, the incumbent Jose Fogaça from the PMDB defeated overwhelmingly Lula's candidate Maria do Rosário.

In Salvador, Bahia, the incumbent mayor João Henrique from the PMDB retained Town Hall defeating the Workers' Party Walter Pinheiro.

Overall next January the Workers Party will take control of 554 cities, of which six are state capitals, with the big loss of São Paulo.

Conservative PSDB emerged with 778 cities, three state capitals and with Kassab overwhelming re-election victory in São Paulo.

The Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, PMDB, won in 1,205 mayoral races, including five state capitals, a 14% jump.

In practical terms this means that the ruling coalition has won nearly two-thirds (63%) of the mayoral races in Sunday's elections.

Mercopress

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