"Part of Rio’s problem is that voters have long shown a preference for charm over administrative skills when it comes to choosing their politicians. Anthony Garotinho, a football commentator turned tele-evangelist, and his wife Rosinha, who between them governed the state with a startling incompetence from 1999 until 2006, are the most recent examples. According to André Urani, author of a forthcoming book on the city, the explanation lies in an abdication by Rio’s elite which, he argues, has regarded local politics as insufficiently important to merit its attention.
Yet even as Mr Cabral’s administration seems to be breaking this pattern, there are signs of it resurfacing elsewhere. The front-runner in the mayoral race in Rio, to be held in October, is Marcelo Crivella. He is the nephew of Edir Macedo, who runs the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, a large network of Pentecostal churches. His uncle also co-owns the Rede Record group, which includes one of Brazil’s biggest news channels. Mr Crivella is a bishop in the church (he also has a career as a singer). Though this ought not to count against him in his bid to be mayor, his willingness to over-promise should. He recently got in trouble for suggesting in campaign leaflets that he could single-handedly remodel one of Rio’s largest shanty towns to resemble a picturesque hillside village in Italy...."