Brazil: Free Ballots and Big Headaches

The military moves toward democracy, but suffers election losses

Even though the occasion was deadly serious, something of a carnival atmosphere descended on Brazil last week, months ahead of its early-spring schedule. About 50 million voters joked and gossiped as they waited at polling stations throughout the vast, rapidly developing Latin American country. The reason for Brazil's mildly intoxicated mood: for the first time since the military forces took power in 1964, citizens were freely exercising the right to choose well over 40,000 political officeholders at almost every level of government.

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