Brazil ruling party wins São Paulo mayoral election


Supporters of Fernando Haddad, the mayoral candidate of the Workers Party (PT), wave banners during a campaign rally in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on October 20, 2012.


Yasuyoshi Chiba

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — Brazil's governing Workers Party (PT) took back the mayor's office in São Paulo with an easy win for newcomer Fernando Haddad.

The country's largest city and business capital has been ruled by the opposition since 2005, according to EFE. Haddad, 49, beat former mayor and two-time presidential candidate José Serra with 55.6 percent in Sunday's second round of voting.

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São Paulo's new mayor was handpicked by former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to represent his party, EFE also reported. The former education minister thanked Lula, current President Dilma Rousseff and the PT in his first speech as mayor-elect.

"I want to thank president Lula from the bottom of my heart. Without him I could not have won this election," he said, according to Agence France-Presse.

After learning of his win, Haddad said he would break through the "wall of shame that separates the rich city from the poor city," reported the Associated Press. He promised to improve education and the public transportation system.

According to AFP, many analysts had expected Haddad and the PT to suffer during the election from the fallout of the party's vote-buying scandal, known as Mensalão. Twenty-five of 37 former ministers, lawmakers, businessmen and bankers have been charged with corruption over the 2002 to 2005 vote-buying scheme, including Lula's former chief of staff, José Dirceu.