Rio electoral court: gov should step down for power abuse

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) " A Brazilian electoral court has ruled that the governor of Rio de Janeiro state and his deputy should step down for awarding contracts in exchange for campaign donations.

In a statement Wednesday, the court said Gov. Luiz Fernando Pezao and Vice Gov. Francisco Dornelles abused their power in the 2014 elections. It said they offered large contracts to companies that provided sizeable donations to their campaign.

The men say they will appeal the decision, a process that could be drawn out. In the meantime, they will remain in their jobs.

Pezao has been struggling to maintain basic services from the state government, which is experiencing a major revenue crisis. Proposed austerity measures in recent months have led to violent protests in front of the state legislature in Rio de Janeiro.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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