BRASILIA Oct 2 Brazilians vote on Sunday in the
first elections since the impeachment of former president Dilma
Rousseff - and her leftist Workers Party (PT) is expected to
suffer a major setback.
The nationwide election of mayors and city councils in 5,568
municipalities across Brazil will be a test of support for the
country's political parties in the midst of its worst corruption
scandal and deepest recession since the 1930s.
Centrist parties allied to Brazil's President Michel Temer,
who succeeded Rousseff in August, are expected to do well.
Victory, particularly in Brazil's largest cities, would boost
the parties as they prepare for the 2018 presidential race.
"The Workers Party has no presidential alternatives and will
suffer big losses," said Claudio Couto, a political scientist at
the FGV think tank in Sao Paulo. "The party made a lot of
mistakes in recent years and never admitted it was wrong."
Temer's Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) is
expected to expand its number of mayors. The Brazilian Social
Democratic Party (PSDB), the other major centrist force, should
win in Sao Paulo, which is a traditional launching pad for
In Sao Paulo, a bastion of anti-Rousseff sentiment, even PT
candidates have eschewed the classic red T-shirt of PT
supporters to avoid association with the party born in the
city's industrial suburbs.
According to ARKO Advice consultancy in Brasilia, the PT
will win only one mayoral race in a state capital city, in Rio
Branco, in the small state of Acre.
Millionaire businessman João Doria is favored to become Sao
Paulo mayor and bolster a likely presidential bid in 2018 by the
PSDB governor of the state Geraldo Alckmin.
The elections are the first held under a ban on corporate
campaign financing that was meant to clean up Brazilian politics
following the massive graft scandal surrounding state-controlled
oil company Petrobras. The new rules have helped wealthy
candidates who are using their personal funds.
The elections have generated little enthusiasm among
Brazilian voters in a nation battling with double-digit
unemployment and high inflation.
Voting is obligatory in Brazil, but many disenchanted voters
would rather not cast any ballot.
"What's the point? There are no alternatives, look left look
right, all the candidates are corrupt," said Ana da Rocha, a
maid who lives in Itapoa on the outskirts of Brasilia.
"Once they get elected, they do nothing but look after
themselves, so they don't have to work again in their lives,"
($1 = 3.2610 Brazilian reais)
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)