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São Paulo City Government Cool on City's Chances for Expo 2020

11/22/2013 - 08h53

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EDUARDO GERAQUE
FROM SÃO PAULO

Workers' Party (PT) management - the party of São Paulo's mayor Fernando Haddad - is pessimistic with regard to the city's chances of hosting the Expo 2020 World Fair.

A vote in Paris next Tuesday will determine which of the candidate cities has been successful. The competition consists of Izmir (Turkey), Dubai (United Arab Emirates) and Yekaterinburg (Russia).

The expectations of Haddad's team stand in contrast to those of the city's previous administration, which entered the city in the running.

The ex-mayor Gilberto Kassab (Social Democrat Party, PSD) was a great enthusiast of the idea and always considered São Paulo to be a hot favorite in the competition.

A year ago, Haddad, the city's new mayor-elect, spent several days in Paris with Kassab. Both men praised one another, and defended São Paulo's candidacy for Expo 2020.

Haddad returned to Paris in June, as Brazil took to the streets, once again to promote São Paulo's case. However, only his vice Nádia Campeão will be present at the announcement on Tuesday.

São Paulo's bid involves the construction of a mega-center in Pirituba to host the fair, replacing the obsolete Anhembi Convention Center. As Folha has learnt, Haddad's team was never keen on the idea.

If indeed São Paulo's bid ends in failure, the PT is considering a new project for the fair of 2025. Estimates suggest that the event is the third most important of its kind in the world.

In terms of movement of both money and people, it loses out only to the World Cup and the Olympic Games.

São Paulo and the Russian city of Yekaterinburg are the stragglers of the four. The current favorite is the Turkish proposal. When presented in November last year, it won enthusiastic applause. Izmir also entered the running to host Expo 2015, but lost out to Milan.

Before Tuesday's final vote, each city will have a final chance to present its bid before 161 delegates.

A significant part of the resources invested in São Paulo's candidature came from private initiative, through the Federation of Industry of the State of São Paulo (FIESP).

Translated by TOM GATEHOUSE

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