Eduardo Paes has been re-elected as Mayor of Rio de Janeiro having been voted out four years ago, shortly after the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games ©Getty Images

Eduardo Paes, who was Mayor of Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, has been elected again to lead the Brazilian city.

The Democrats candidate won a landslide victory over Marcelo Crivella, who had defeated him four years ago, despite being accused of corruption and fraud during Rio's successful Olympic bid.

Paes polled 64.07 per cent of the valid votes, with Crivella earning 35.93 per cent. 

Paes, who had previously served as the city's Mayor between 2009 and 2016, won in all 59 electoral zones of Rio.

After the result, Paes celebrated what he called "the victory of politics" against radicalisation.

"The first message I wanted to send is to thank the Cariocas who went to the polls and believed in our proposals," said Paes, who will officially take over as Mayor again on January 1 next year. 

"I also wanted to celebrate a victory for politics here.

"We spent the last years radicalising Brazilian politics.

"The result of this radicalism certainly did not do well none of us Cariocas did any good for any of us Brazilians."

Crivella, a key ally of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and an Evangelical bishop in one of Brazil's biggest mega-churches, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, proved to be an awkward fit for a city known for its beaches, nightlife and carnival.

His popularity suffered over his management of floods and landslides that regularly hit the city, and for allegations his Church was used to launder embezzled money.

Like much of Brazil, Rio has also been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

So far, 22,539 people in the city have died of COVID-19.

Marcelo Crivella had beaten Eduardo Paes four years ago to become Mayor of Rio de Janeiro but his term has proved to be unpopular with Cariocas ©Getty Images
Marcelo Crivella had beaten Eduardo Paes four years ago to become Mayor of Rio de Janeiro but his term has proved to be unpopular with Cariocas ©Getty Images

By contrast, Paes's administration was seen as a golden period for Rio - though there was criticism in retrospect of unkept promises and white elephants left over from the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup, which Brazil had staged in 2014.

In May, Paes was accused of committing passive corruption and bid fraud during the construction of a venue for Rio 2016.

The complaint, filed by the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) and accepted by the Third Federal Criminal Court of Rio, is related to the alleged direction in the bidding for the construction of the Deodoro Olympic Park.

According to the MPF, a consortium of companies was favoured in the construction of buildings in the northern area of the complex, as reported by Globo.

This included the Olympic Whitewater Stadium, BMX centre, mountain bike park, hockey centre, shooting centre, Youth Arena and Deodoro Stadium, the construction of which totalled BRL$660million (£93 million/$124 million/€104 million).

Prosecutors claim there was a deliberate intention to restrict the participation of different companies in the bidding race.

Around 40 contracts were allegedly interested in the tender, but the complexity of building several venues with different requirements meant only the consortium of Brazilian construction companies, comprising Queiroz Galvão and OAS, were able to submit a proposal.

It is also alleged that Queiroz Galvão did not have the technical certificate for the construction of multipurpose venues, with Paes initiating the creation of a consortium with OAS to circumvent this issue.

Prosecutors had also claimed that BRL$120 million (£17 million/$23 million/€19 million) was paid to Queiroz Galvão for earthmoving services that were never performed on site.

Only an "insignificant amount" of landfill was allegedly transported off-site, when more than two million tons were expected to be discarded.

Paes has rejected the claim and alleged that the complaint was filed to try to derail his election bid.

Eduardo Paes has been accused of corruption and fraud linked to Rio 2016 ©Getty Images
Eduardo Paes has been accused of corruption and fraud linked to Rio 2016 ©Getty Images

It was, however, not the first time that Paes had been accused of corruption in relation to Rio 2016.

In July 2019, former Rio State Governor Sergio Cabral claimed in court that he paid $1.5 million (£1.1 million/€1.2 million) in bribes through intermediaries to former World Athletics President Lamine Diack.

He made the bribes to secure up to six votes from International Olympic Committee members for the Rio 2016 bid.

Cabral told the court in Rio de Janeiro that Paes and former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had not directly participated in the scheme but had been aware of what was happening. 

Paes also saw his assets frozen in December 2016 after he was accused of administrative impropriety, having allegedly waived a costly environmental fee for the company which built the Olympic golf course.

He was cleared of the charges when a judge dismissed the case in February 2018. 

Paes has also had to fend off allegations that he received bribes from construction company Odebrecht in connection with Olympic and Paralympic contracts.

According to Brazilian newspaper O Estado São Paulo, the company involved in the majority of the major construction projects at Rio 2016 paid Paes around BRL$16 million (£2.3 million/$3 million/€2.5 million) for the "facilitation of Olympic-related contracts".