Lula`s allies to have majority in Brazilian Senate

The coalition that backs Brazilian Prez Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is set to have a 2/3 majority.

Updated: Oct 05, 2010, 00:41 AM IST

Brasilia: The coalition that backs Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is set to have a two-thirds majority in the Senate in January.

Lula`s Workers` Party (PT) and its allies are to get 55 Senate seats - up from their current 39, while the opposition goes from 33 down to 22 seats and independents shrink from 10 to four, according to a vote count from Sunday`s legislative election.

Lula`s allies swept the board Sunday: Of 54 Senate seats at stake in the election, they got 40.

The leftist PT, also the party of Dilma Rousseff - the favourite in the race to succeed Lula - increased its own share from 11 to 15 senators. It is set to be the second-largest in the upper house of the Brazilian Congress, behind its main ally, the centrist Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB), with 20 seats.

The opposition led by the Party of Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB), whose presidential candidate Jose Serra managed to hold Rousseff to a runoff, and by the conservative party Democratas (DEM) suffered a historic defeat in the Senate race.

The PSDB, which currently has 14 senators, will from January have only 10, while the DEM went from 18 seats to seven.

The relevance of the balance of power in the Senate will depend on the presidential runoff of Oct 31, between Rousseff and Serra.

If Rousseff wins the presidency, she will have a very friendly Senate to work with, in line with the wishes of the outgoing Lula. However, if Serra were to win, he would have to govern in an unfavourable legislative setting.