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At least nine candidates backed by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro were elected governors in their states in Sunday’s regional elections, compared to five backed by socialist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
This Sunday, the governors of 15 of Brazil’s 27 states were defined thanks to the fact that the winners obtained more than half of the votes, while the regional governors in the other 12 states will be defined in the second round.
In addition to the nine elected governors supported by Bolsonaro and the five backed by Lula, businessman Romeu Zema, from the liberal Novo party that maintained neutrality in the presidential dispute, was reelected governor of Minas Gerais.
Despite his alleged independence, the governor of Minas Gerais —Brazil’s second largest electoral college— was elected in 2018 in the wake of regional victories then driven by Bolsonaro.
The governor of Rio de Janeiro —Brazil’s third largest electoral college— Claudio Castro, a co-religionist of the Liberal Party (PL) president, was reelected with 58.63% of the votes.
Among the governors supported by Bolsonaro, Carlos Massa “Ratinho” Junior, reelected governor of Santa Catarina with almost 70% of the votes, stood out.
Despite being a right-wing Social Democratic Party (PSD) member and not very aligned with Bolsonaro, the governor has a long-standing alliance with the president.
Other Bolsonaro-backed candidates who won the election were Mauro Mendes, a reelected governor in Mato Grosso with 68.45% of the vote; and Gladson Cameli, reelected in Acre with 56.75%.
The governor of Roraima, Antonio Denarim, was also reelected (56.47%) with the support of the head of state.
The other Bolsonarista candidates who were reelected governors were those of Brasilia, Ibaneis Rocha (50.3%); Tocantins, Wanderlei Barbosa (58.14%), and Acre, Gladson Cameli (53.66%), while Clecio Luis, candidate of the Solidarity party, was elected governor of Amapá with 53.66%.
On the other hand, three candidates of the Workers’ Party (PT), the party founded and led by Lula, secured the election this Sunday without the need for a second round by obtaining more than half of the votes.
They were Fátima Bezerra, reelected governor of Rio Grande do Norte with 58.3% of the votes; Rafael Fonteles, elected as the new governor of Piauí with 57.1%, and Elmano de Freitas, who was surprisingly elected governor of Ceará, with 53.95%.
The three states are in the northeast of Brazil, the poorest region of the country and the one that gave the progressive leader the most votes.
The governor of Maranhao, Carlos Brandao, a member of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), one of the formations of the coalition that nominated Lula, was also reelected.
The governor of Pará, Helder Barbalho, despite belonging to a party that supported the presidential candidacy of Senator Simone Tebet, was reelected with the explicit support of Lula.
Other candidates explicitly supported by Bolsonaro will compete in the second round, such as Capitao Contar in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul and Onyx Lorenzoni, who was a former minister of the president, and will compete in the runoff after having received the most votes in Rio Grande do Sul.
But the biggest surprise among Bolsonaristas came from Bolsonaro’s former minister Tarcisio Gomes de Freitas, the most voted governor of Sao Paulo (42.32%) and who will have to define the regional government of Brazil’s most populous and richest state in a second round with Fernando Haddad (35.70%), Lula’s protégé and PT’s presidential candidate in 2018.