Brazil's opposition falters at polls

Final national election results are not expected here until the weekend, but it appears that opposition candidates did not roll up the landslide victories that were expected in Brazil's industrialized southern states.

Monitor correspondent James Nelson Goodsell writes that government candidates appear to have won in at least three-quarters of the states. Government candidates also appear to be easy winners in the Rio Grande do Sul - a big surprise - and in Bahia, based on returns that are 50 percent complete. But the major opposition party, the Brazilian Democratic Movement, scored big wins in Sao Paulo and Parana States.

Another surprise has been the strong showing of government candidate Wellington Moreira Franco in Rio de Janeiro State. The vote was still too tentative to project a winner, but Leonel Brizola, a controversial leftist who was expected to win, was running second at the time of writing. One television network projects that Mr. Brizola will ultimately win by about 50,000 votes, basing its projection on 12 percent of the count. The tally has been seesawing back and forth between Mr. Brizola and Mr. Moreira Franco.

The vote-counting procedure is cumbersome because each vote is scrutinized by a dozen or so counters before acceptance.

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