Skin-baring Rio chooses conservative bishop Marcelo Crivella as mayor

October 31, 2016 5:56 am

, bishop of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, has been chosen Mayor of . Photo / AP

Known to the world for its skin-baring beach culture and exuberant Carnival parades, de Janeiro overwhelmingly chose an evangelical bishop as a mayor today, signalling a resurgence of conservatism in ’s largest nation.
Senator Marcelo Crivella easily beat his opponent, socialist state Representative Marcelo Freixo, taking 59 per cent of the votes against 41 per cent in the municipal runoff election. Rio was one of 57 Brazilian cities holding runoff votes.
The conservative Crivella’s triumph is the latest display of widespread anger at ’s established left-wing parties amid the country’s worst recession in decades and the aftermath of an impeachment trial that threw the Workers’ Party out after 13 years in power.
It’s also a sign of the rise of evangelical churches like Pentecostals.

“I pray to God that my public life, as rocky as it has been, can teach all Cariocas that our time always comes when we do not give up,” Crivella told a crowd of supporters.Although Crivella had run and lost in previous mayoral and gubernatorial elections, in opinion polls that preceded the election he was clearly favoured by Cariocas, the name by which Rio residents are known.
Crivella, 59, is the nephew of Edir Macedo, founder of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, the main Pentecostal denomination in Brazil.
Although Brazil is the largest Catholic nation, the growing evangelical community now accounts for one-fifth of the population of around 200 million.
Known for religious songs on YouTube with titles like Jesus Cures and I’m Israel, Crivella drew criticism for remarks against gays, Catholics and people of African religions.
In a book he wrote after an evangelical mission in Africa, he said that gay people are victims of a “terrible evil,” that the Catholic Church “preaches demonic doctrines,” and that Hinduism and African religions shelter “unclean spirits”.
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