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Brazilians Vote in Local Elections - 2004-10-03

Brazilians are voting Sunday in nationwide local elections seen as a mid-term test of the government of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Mr. da Silva came to power in 2002, promising greater social and economic justice.

His Workers' Party is hoping for a strong showing in the local elections.

Brazilians will vote for mayors in more than 5,000 towns and cities. They will also choose thousands of municipal councilors. A run-off election will be held at the end of October for candidates who do not receive an outright majority.

One of the most closely watched races in the election is taking place in Brazil's largest city and financial center, Sao Paulo. Opinion polls show former presidential challenger Jose Serra is slightly ahead of incumbent Mayor Marta Suplicy.