In the late 1980s, a team representing the radical left was elected to the Porto Alegre Town Hall. (Porto Alegre is one of the largest cities in the south of Brazil, with a population of 1.3 million inhabitants.) This was the time when the country was going through the final stages of a transition to democracy. This transition had lasted a good ten years, starting with the major struggles of the working class in the second half of the 1970s, and followed by the introduction of a very progressive constitution in 1988. Brazil is today one of the top ten economic powers of the world; it is also one of the countries with the greatest social inequalities. The fight to overthrow the dictatorship combined social claims with a demand for democracy. The State of Rio Grande do Sul, of which Porto Alegre is the capital, has always had a special relationship with the federal government. It has often been politically opposed to it, and has a history of progressive currents; there is less social inequality there than in the rest of the country and, conversely, the management of public affairs tends to be better.