Cablegate: Results of Brazilian October 3 Elections
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BRASILIA 002506
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL SOCI BR
SUBJECT: RESULTS OF BRAZILIAN OCTOBER 3 ELECTIONS
REF: BRASILIA 2484
1.(SBU) SUMMARY. The Workers' Party (PT) of Brazilian
President Lula da Silva did well in nationwide municipal
elections on October 3, winning city hall in several of the
largest cities, including six state capitals. As expected,
the Sao Paulo mayor's race will go to a second-round runoff,
pitting the PT incumbent Marta Suplicy against the PSDB's
Jose Serra. These were municipal elections for 5,563 mayors
and city councils nationwide, so no party scored a national
knockout, but the PT expanded its number of city halls, both
in the big cities and in the interior. The centrist PMDB
will continue to have the most mayors overall, followed by
the PSDB. These elections were local, and so were not a true
litmus test for the Lula administration, but with the economy
and Lula's popularity improving in recent months, several PT
candidates made late gains and either won outright in the
first round or made it into the October 31 second round.
Similarly, the results do not give clear guidance for the
2006 national elections, except to underscore that the PT and
PSDB are the most vital parties at the national level, and
are likely to face each other again in the 2006 presidential
and Sao Paulo governor's races. END SUMMARY.
2.(SBU) THE SOUTHEAST
In Sao Paulo, Jose Serra (PSDB) at 44% and incumbent Marta
Suplicy (PT) at 36% will go to a second-round runoff on
October 31. Polls have shown Serra defeating Marta in
second-round projections and he is likely to prevail, but his
margin of victory has been shrinking in recent weeks. Both
the PT and PSDB can be expected to mobilize their national
stars on their candidates' behalf during October.
In Belo Horizonte, capital of Minas Gerais, incumbent
Fernando Pimentel (PT) won a crushing first-round victory
over challenger Joao Leite (PSB) by 68-22%. Leite had the
endorsement of Minas's popular PSDB governor, Aecio Neves.
In Rio de Janeiro, incumbent Cesar Maia (PFL) won a
first-round victory with 50.1%; defeating evangelical Senator
Marcelo Crivella (PL) at 21%. The PT is weak in Rio and its
candidate won just 6%.
In Vitoria, capital of Espirito Santo, Joao Coser (PT) at 37%
and Cesar Colnagi (PSDB, endorsed by the outgoing PSDB mayor)
at 34% will go to the second round. Coser was an early
long-shot, but made a strong finish to end up in first place.
Colnagi will likely get second-round votes from supporters
of PP's conservative third-place finisher.
3. (SBU) THE FAR SOUTH
Porto Alegre, in Rio Grande do Sul, is perhaps the PT's most
cherished stronghold. Raul Pont (PT) at 37% will face Jose
Fogaca (PPS) who won 28%, in a second-round runoff. Pont is
trying to win the PT's fifth straight mayoral election in
In Florianopolis, capital of Santa Catarina, Dario Berger
(PSDB) at 35% should beat conservative Chico Assis (PP) who
won 27%, in the second round, as the third- and forth-place
finishers were from farther to the left.
As expected Curitiba, in Parana, will see Beto Richa (PSDB)
at 35%, face Angel Vanhoni (PT) who won 31%, in the
second-round. Vanhoni did well to get so close and has put
the run-off outcome in doubt.
4. (SBU) THE NORTHEAST
Salvador, capital of Bahia, is headquarters to the Antonio
Carlos Magalhaes ("ACM") PFL machine. But ACM's candidate,
Cesar Borges at 22%, badly trailed Joao Henrique (PDT) at
43%. Henrique is favored in the second-round because he will
unite the PT (whose candidate won 22%) with other anti-ACM
forces. Pundits are already wondering if ACM's machine is
beginning to crumble in its own home base.
In Recife, in Pernambuco, incumbent Joao Paulo (PT) separated
himself from a close race with Carlos Cadoca of the state's
PMDB/PFL machine, handily winning a first-round reelection
victory by 56-28%.
Either the polling in Forteleza, capital of Ceara, was
woefully poor, or many voters changed their minds in the
final hours. Moroni Torgan (PFL) at 26% and Luizianne Lins
(PT maverick) at 22%, will go to a second-round runoff.
Torgan and Lins were numbers two and four, respectively, in
last week's polls. Early front-runner Antonio Cambraia (of
the state's PSDB machine), and communist Inacio Arruda
(PCdoB) who was supported by the national PT party, finished
third and fourth.
Sao Luis, in Maranhao, is headquarters to the Sarney family
PFL/PMDB machine, but the family split this year, allowing
Tadeu Palacio (PDT) to win a first-round victory.
In Maceio, capital of Alagoas, Cicero Almeida (PDT) won with
43% of the vote. Almeida pulled ahead of early favorite
Alberto Sexta-Feira of the state's PSB machine, who got 27%.
(With a population less than 200,000, Maceio will not have a
Aracaju, in Sergipe, delivered the champion vote-getter this
year. PT incumbent Marcelo Deda crushed his PPS challenger
by 71-18%. Though from a small state, Deda should now have a
national profile in the PT party.
In Joao Pessoa, capital of Paraiba, Ricardo Coutinho (PSB)
scored an impressive victory with 64% against Ruy Carneiro
(PSDB) who won 30%. The outgoing PMDB mayor endorsed
Natal, in Rio Grande do Norte, will see a second-round runoff
between incumbent Carlos Eduardo Alves (PSB) who looked to do
better than his tally of 37%, versus challenger Luiz Almir
(PSDB) who won 30%.
Teresina, capital of impoverished Piaui, gave physician
Silvio Mendes (PSDB) 48%. Mendes, supported by the outgoing
PSDB mayor, is favored in the second round against Adalgisa
Moraes Souza (PMDB) who won 25%. Souza is the wife of
PT-baiting Senator Mao Santa (PMDB).
5. (SBU) THE CENTER-WEST AND THE NORTH
In Goiania, capital of Goias (the state that surrounds
Brasilia), PMDB dinosaur Iris Rezende (PMDB) won 47% and is
favored in the second round against PT incumbent Pedro
Wilson, who won 23% after his candidacy was nearly canceled
by an electoral judge for campaign violations.
In Cuiaba, Mato Grosso state, long-shot PT candidate
Alexandre Cesar won a surprising 33% and will go to the
second round against the PSDB's Wilson Santos who won 36%.
These results are a big disappointment to the PPS, whose
Sergio Ricardo was backed by the outgoing PPS incumbent.
In Campo Grande, capital of Mato Grosso do Sul, as expected
Nelsinho Trad (PMDB) won a first-round victory over Vander
Loubet (PT), by 55-23%.
Porto Velho, in Rondonia, will see a second-round runoff
between two left-of-center candidates: Roberto Sobrinho (PT)
who won 32%, and Mauro Nazif (PSB) at 30%. Nazif will be
favored to win on October 31.
In Rio Branco, Acre state, Raimundo Angelim (PT) came from
behind for a gratifying 49-41% win over Marcio Bittar (PPS).
(Rio Branco's population is under 200,000, so there is no
Manaus, capital of Amazonas, will see a second-run runoff
between PFL dinosaur Amazonino Mendes, whose 43% beat out PSB
longshot Serafim Correa, at 28%. The PT supported communist
Vanessa Graziotin (PCdoB), who won 13%. Former-Governor
Mendes was expected to sweep to an easy first-round victory,
but now faces a difficult runoff.
Boa Vista, in Roraima, reelected incumbent Teresa Juca (PPS)
with 56% of the vote.
Macapa, in Amapa, as expected, reelected incumbent Joao
Henrique (PT) with 41%. (Macapa's population is under
200,000, so there will be no second-round.)
In Belem, capital of Para, favorite Duciomar Costa (PTB) won
48% and will be forced to a second round by federal Senator
Ana Julia Carepa (PT), who got 33%.
In Palmas, capital of Tocantins, longshot Raul Filho (PT)
scored a huge upset in a small state by crushing the PSDB
candidate of the Siqueiro Campos machine, by 64-32%.
COMMENT - PT AND PSDB SEEN AS WINNERS
6. (SBU) The incumbent PT Mayor of Sao Paulo, Marta Suplicy,
was considerably outpolled by PSDB standard-bearer, Jose
Serra, and the eight-point margin suggests she is unlikely
to beat him in the October 31 runoff. But President Lula's
PT did well elsewhere in the first round, winning six of 26
state capitals outright, with a chance to win eight more in
the second round. Early results indicate the Workers'
Party's success was not limited to the big cities. Of the
5,563 mayors nationwide, the PT won 381 mayoralties yesterday
--a big jump from the 187 it won in 2000. For overall number
of mayors, the PT still trails amorphous giant PMDB (1,014),
as well as the opposition PSDB that won 828, the PFL with
767, and the center-right PTB with 403. Only the PT and PTB
elected more mayors yesterday than they did in the 2000
cycle. Founded as an urban labor party, the PT defended its
big-city incumbencies in Belo Horizonte and Recife, as well
as winning the smaller capitals of Acre, Amapa, Sergipe and
Tocantins. The PT's disappointments include likely incumbent
losses in Belem and Goiania and the squelching of higher
hopes in some other venues.
7. (SBU) Meanwhile, the PSDB had fewer pieces at play in
these capitals, as its strength is not concentrated in there.
The PSDB is surely gratified by Serra's showing in Sao Paulo
and other strong showings in Sao Paulo state as well as in
Piaui, Cuiaba, Curitiba and Espirito Santo. However, the
candidate endorsed by one of its star governors, Aecio Neves
in Minas Gerais, got crushed by a PT incumbent, and its
machine candidate in northeastern Ceara inexplicably failed
to make the second round.
COMMENT CONTINUED - OTHER PARTIES A MIXED BAG
8. (SBU) Cesar Maia,s first round reelection in Rio de
Janeiro is a great triumph for the PFL, but the party did
poorly in other big cities (particularly in traditional
redoubts Salvador and Curitiba). The small left-of-center
PSB and PDT both did well, picking up two capitals each.
The PMDB continued its pattern of resilience and decay, as it
piled up hundreds of small town victories but, without any
national stars, failed to win any big cities. The
conservative PP had a tough time, with reverses ranging from
Paulo Maluf,s poor showing in Sao Paulo to losses in
Florianopolis, Manaus, and Boa Vista. The PCdoB (Communist
Party of Brazil) generally supported PT candidates, and the
communists' only sitting mayor, Luciana Santos in Olinda
(near Recife) was reelected with 55% of the vote. Two other
credible PCdoB candidates --in Manaus and Fortaleza-- failed
to reach the second round. But in Camaragibe, another Recife
satellite town, Joao Lemos won and became the PCdoB's second
JUDGE RECOGNIZES GAY MARRIAGE
9. (SBU) Finally, one of the election's oddities was the
Supreme Electoral Court indirectly recognizing gay marriage.
Brazil has an election law designed to reduce the strength of
family dynasties by prohibiting one family member from
succeeding another in executive office. The Supreme
Electoral Court ruled that in the town of Viseu, in Para
state, State Deputy Eulina Rabelo had established a
legally-recognized "stable wife-wife relationship" with
incumbent Mayor Astrid Maria Cunha, and therefore could not
run to succeed her.