Power

2020 Election: What is at stake in São Paulo and Rio

History suggests that the municipal election can anticipate trends in national elections. We explain what you should look out for

2020 election sao paulo rio de janeiro
São Paulo City Center. Photo: T Photography/Shutterstock

Brazil’s mid-term municipal elections are often seen by parties as a dress rehearsal for national races. History suggests that local disputes often anticipate trends that we will observe two years later, when presidential and gubernatorial candidates square off. In 2020, the municipal election will be as national as ever, with all the main presidential hopefuls using the November 15 vote to set up alliances that could carry them over the finish line in 2022.

In this game, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are disproportionately important, as the country’s two most-populated and wealthiest cities — with a combined GDP...

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