Rio de Janeiro (CNN)Rio de Janeiro, the city of sunshine and samba, elected a former evangelical bishop mayor in a municipal election that signals Brazil’s politics are shifting right after 13 years of national leftist rule.
Marcelo Crivella, a conservative senator who is affiliated with an influential megachurch, won a runoff election Sunday with nearly 60% of the vote, beating runner-up Marcelo Freixo, a socialist state deputy and former history teacher, by nearly 20 percentage points.
“We’re currently witnessing a fragmentation and reconfirmation of politics in Brazil,” said Michael Mohallem, a law and political sciences professor at the Getulio Vargas Foundation.
While the Workers Party lost its political clout nationally, the PMDB did not. The PMDB had the second-most number of people elected. It did lose in Rio, where it had dominated on the state and municipal levels for decades.
Earlier this month, the country’s business capital of Sao Paulo booted Workers Party Mayor Fernando Haddad in favor of billionaire businessman Joao Doria.
For Brazil, the main catalyst for change may be seen in the 2018 presidential elections, which could potentially see the re-election of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva — the popular union leader who was first elected in 2002 and whose party is at the center of a federal corruption probe — or new shift to the right on the national stage.