Brazil holds first vote under 'Clean Record' law

Associated Press Modified: October 7, 2012 at 8:48 pm •  Published: October 7, 2012
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Waiting next to him, Fernando de Aguiar Fonseca said he'd need to see dirty candidates not being allowed to take office before he'd really believe the law was here to stay.

"Some laws here don't 'stick'," he said. "I want to see them thrown out. I want to see these guys whose families have power, who have friends and connections and important patrons in politics, not be allowed to take office. Then I'll say, yes, things are changing."

Already, kinks have emerged.

Out of the roughly 480,000 candidates running for mayor or city council in 5,565 cities and towns across Brazil, 2,969 are being examined by Brazil's top electoral court in connection with the Clean Record law. The volume of red-flagged candidacies is so high that the court has processed only 764 of them to date — and it has not released a list of the candidates it has barred from taking office even if they win their races.

A spokeswoman for the court said that the list will be released in the coming days and that the court hopes to get through all the cases by December, before the newly elected officials take office. If the court disqualifies a winning candidate, the second-place finisher would take office instead.

The two biggest races Sunday were for mayors of Rio de Janeiro and of Sao Paulo, South America's biggest metropolis.

In Rio, Mayor Eduardo Paes won in the first round, with 65 percent of the vote. In Sao Paulo, two-time presidential candidate and former governor Jose Serra will face former education minister Fernando Haddad in a run-off Oct. 28.

The Clean Record law is part of a broader crackdown on corruption that has swept Brazil. The Supreme Court is deliberating on a cash-for-votes case with defendants that include dozens of legislators as well as the former chief of staff for hugely popular former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Current President Dilma Rousseff is seen as being tough on corruption. She's forced out seven of her ministers who have faced allegations.

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Associated Press writers Bradley Brooks in Sao Paulo and Juliana Barbassa in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this report.


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