President Fernando Collor de Mello suffered a sweeping defeat in gubernatorial runoff elections whose results were widely considered a rejection of his tough anti-inflation policies.

The runoffs were held Sunday in 15 of the country's 26 states where none of the candidates obtained an absolute majority in the first round.Collor's allies lost the runoffs in each of five major states contested Sunday: Sao Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul, Minas Gerais, Parana and Espirito Santo, according to results that came in Monday.

The results seemed to show a sudden plunge in Collor's political fortunes. His allies had swept to victory in 10 of 11 state governors' races that were determined in the first round of voting, on Oct. 3.