Brazilians voting in mayoral and municipal elections have given the president's Workers' party wins in several cities, according to early results and exit polls. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's party won mayoral races in at least four state capitals on Sunday, but did worse than expected in São Paulo, the country's largest city.
Candidates from the ruling party, which controlled 17 of Brazil's 79 largest cities going into the elections – also won enough votes in several cities to qualify for a run-off election later in the month.
Analysts expected the ruling party to make significant gains on the back of Lula's record 80% approval rating in opinion polls and a strong performance would boost the party's chances in the next general election in 2010, when the constitution mandates that Lula must stand down after two four-year terms.
While electoral authorities reported no major fraud or violence in the country, security was tightened in Rio de Janeiro where drug gangs and militias had threatened some candidates during the campaign.
About 129 million Brazilian voters went to the polls Sunday morning to elect mayors and 52,137 councilors at 5,563 municipalities.