Brazil to send soldiers into slums during poll

Brazil’s defence ministry plans to send troops to ensure peaceful campaigning and voting in notoriously violent slum areas of the country’s second-largest city for upcoming local elections.

Soldiers and marines will deploy in Rio de Janeiro slums tomorrow to guarantee “democratic freedom” and allow candidates to campaign a week ahead of the municipal elections, a ministry statement said. The military presence will continue until voting is over on 7 October.

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Twenty political parties are competing for mayoral and council seats in 5,565 towns and cities in an election which will test support for president Dilma Rousseff’s ruling Workers Party.

While Ms Rousseff’s approval ratings are at record highs for a Brazilian president despite a slowing economy, her popularity has not brushed off on her party.

A corruption scandal involving vote-buying by the party during former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s first term has hurt the party’s standing in Brazil’s big cities and the party faces possible defeat in key races in Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte,
Salvador and Recife.