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Municipal elections take place nationwide in Brazil

SAO PAULO--Brazilians trooped to the polls early Sunday to vote in nationwide municipal elections seen as a key test of the ruling Workers Party's popularity ahead of the 2014 presidential elections.

Although the leftist party is not favored to win most major cities, other balloting is expected to boost President Dilma Rousseff, who took office from Workers Party (PT) founder and mentor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in early 2011.

Some 139 million voters are registered to elect 5,561 mayors and 48,000 municipal councilors for four-year terms among 450,000 candidates representing more than 20 political parties.

The mandatory electronic voting began at 1100 GMT across the continent-sized country and polling stations were to close at 2000 GMT.

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