Eduardo Leite

Eduardo Figueiredo Cavalheiro Leite (born 10 March 1985) is the governor of the state of Rio Grande do Sul. He won with 53.62% of the vote during the state's 2018 elections. Leite was elected governor at 33 years old, becoming the youngest governor in Brazil. In July 2021, Eduardo Leite came out as gay during an interview for the Brazilian talk show Conversa com Bial, thus becoming the first openly gay governor in Brazil's history.[1]

Eduardo Leite
Eduardo Leite em 3 de julho de 2017.jpg
Leite in July 2017
Governor of Rio Grande do Sul
Assumed office
1 January 2019
Vice GovernorRanolfo Vieira Júnior
Preceded byJosé Ivo Sartori
Mayor of Pelotas
In office
1 January 2013 – 31 December 2016
Vice MayorPaula Mascarenhas
Preceded byAdolfo Antônio Fetter Júnior
Succeeded byPaula Mascarenhas
President of the Municipal Chamber of Pelotas
In office
1 January 2011 – 1 January 2013
Preceded byMilton Rodrigues Martins
Succeeded byProfessor Adinho
City Councillor of Pelotas
In office
1 January 2009 – 1 January 2013
Personal details
Eduardo Figueiredo Cavalheiro Leite

(1985-03-10) 10 March 1985 (age 36)
Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Political partyPSDB
Alma materFederal University of Pelotas

Political careerEdit

Leite began his career in politics at a young age, first running for Pelotas city council in 2004 at age 19. Though unsuccessful, Leite began working for local Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) municipal politicians and, in 2009, would be elected to Pelotas city council. In 2011, Leite became the Pelotas City Council President.[citation needed] In 2013, Leite won the city's mayoral election and served from 2013 to 2016.

During his term as mayor, Leite modernized management methods and prioritized fiscal austerity, which resulted in balanced public accounts. He was able to guarantee funding for major infrastructure works and the remodeling of the urban mobility system, while also improving local health and education indicators. Leite ended his term with an approval rating of 87%.[citation needed]. Concerned with high incumbency rates among Brazilian politicians, Leite opted to not run for re-election, instead backing his vice-mayor, Paula Schild Mascarenhas, in her successful candidacy.

Eduardo Leite was chosen by “Americas Quarterly”, a North-American magazine, as one of the five most promising politicians under 40 in Latin America.[citation needed]

After his term as mayor, Leite enrolled in a Master's program in Public Management at Fundação Getúlio Vargas.[2]

Governor of Rio Grande do SulEdit

2018 gubernatorial campaignEdit

In 2017, the PSDB, under Leite's leadership, withdrew support from the administration of José Ivo Sartori. The following year, the PSDB nominated Leite as its gubernatorial candidate. Sartori originally expressed an interest in Leite standing as his running mate.[3] In the first round of elections, Leite earned 35.9% of the vote and faced Sartori in a runoff election.[4] Leite won the runoff election with nearly 54% of the vote.[5]

During the same Legislative elections, Leite's electoral coalition only elected 18 of the 55 members of the State Legislature, requiring Leite to enter into coalition negotiations to obtain a parliamentary majority. Leite was able to secure the support of many formerly Sartori-aligned parties, including the Brazilian Socialist Party, Democrats and the Liberal Party. While initially reluctant, the Brazilian Democratic Movement voted to join Leite's government upon the recognition of similarities between their economic policies. After the successful negotiations, 32 of 55 Assembly members backed the Leite administration.[6]


Eduardo Leite and José Ivo Sartori, his opponent in the 2018 runoff, during the government transition.

Leite was sworn as the governor of Rio Grande do Sul in 2019. In his inauguration address, he stressed the necessity of political conciliation to overcome the economic crisis in increasingly polarized times.[7] He allocated most of his cabinet membership to coalition partners, having nine parties represented.[8] Alleging cost reduction, he became the first governor to live in the state's palace since Olívio Dutra.[9]

He established privatizations as a priority, with the state-owned companies of energy, mines and natural gas being its main targets.[10] Since the State Constitution requires referendums to privatize these stated owned companies, Leite introduced a constitutional amendment to abolish this requirement, it was approved by Assembly in May 2019, by 40 ayes vs 13 no, with all but the PT, PDT and PSOL voting in favor.[11] In August 2019, the State Assembly authorized the sale of these state companies, with the process being fully completed in early 2021.[12]

In late 2019, he announce a comprehensive austerity package that would include pension reform and changes to the state public service, Leite described the changes as necessary to restore fiscal responsibility but allied parties were skeptical of the proposal, with the Social Liberal Party initially withdrawing support from the government.[13] After lengthy negotiations with each of the coalition parties and the syndicates, the Assembly approved the reform in January 2020, it was considered a historical victory and the most ambitious reform in the state's history.[14]

In 2021, far-right politician Roberto Jefferson used a homophobic slur against Leite while critiquing the response of his government to the COVID-19 pandemic. On 19 March 2021, Leite filed a criminal complaint against Jefferson.[15][16][17]

Political positionsEdit

Leite is considered a left-leaning member of the PDSB. In 2019, Leite identified as a social democrat, and in 2020 as a social liberal,[18][19] arguing that the state has a role to play in regulating business and helping to manage inequality, while also stating that the private sector and social entrepreneurship has a role to play. Prior to this, he has expressed support for same-sex marriage and decriminalization of marijuana, though he took a more conservative stance on the decriminalization of abortion. Leite has also expressed support for urban gun control measures.[20][21]


  1. ^ "Eduardo Leite, governador do RS, fala sobre homossexualidade em entrevista a Bial: 'Eu sou gay. E tenho orgulho disso'". G1 (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2021-07-02.
  2. ^ "Aos 33 anos, Eduardo Leite (PSDB) é eleito governador do RS |". 2018-10-29. Retrieved 2018-10-30.
  3. ^ "Rumo ao Piratini: quem são e como se articulam os pré-candidatos ao governo do RS". GZH (in Portuguese). 2017-10-06. Retrieved 2021-04-27.
  4. ^ G1. "Eleições 2018 no G1 – Pesquisas, Apuração de Votos e Resultados". G1 (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2021-04-27.
  5. ^ "Segundo turno Eduardo Leite X José Ivo Sartori: Apuração dos votos e resultado das Eleições 2018 RS". UOL Eleições 2018. Retrieved 2021-04-27.
  6. ^ Comércio, Jornal do. "Com apoio do PSB, base de Leite tem 32 deputados". Jornal do Comércio (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2021-04-27.
  7. ^ "Eduardo Leite pede união ao tomar posse como governador do RS". G1 (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2021-06-02.
  8. ^ "Conheça o secretariado do governo de Eduardo Leite". Leouve (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2021-06-02.
  9. ^ "Saiba por que Eduardo Leite decidiu morar no Piratini". GZH (in Portuguese). 2019-01-21. Retrieved 2021-06-02.
  10. ^ "Privatizações devem ser prioridade para governo Leite, diz secretário da Casa Civil". G1 (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2021-06-02.
  11. ^ "PEC do plebiscito é aprovada em primeiro turno na Assembleia do RS". G1 (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2021-06-02.
  12. ^ "Assembleia Legislativa aprova projetos que autorizam a privatização da CEEE, CRM e Sulgás". NH (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2021-06-02.
  13. ^ "Eduardo Leite encaminha pacote da reforma do RS à Assembleia: 'As medidas não são simpáticas, mas fundamentais'". G1 (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2021-06-02.
  14. ^ Comércio, Jornal do. "Eduardo Leite comemora vitórias históricas na Assembleia Legislativa". Jornal do Comércio (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2021-06-02.
  15. ^ "Leite apresenta representação contra Roberto Jefferson". Correio do povo. 2021-03-23. Retrieved 2019-03-23.
  16. ^ "Governador do RS aciona MP contra Roberto Jefferson por homofobia: "Ofendeu a dignidade humana"". Revista Forum. 2021-03-23. Retrieved 2019-03-23.
  17. ^ "Após ser chamado de "viado", Eduardo Leite processa Roberto Jefferson por homofobia". Clic Camaquã. 2021-03-23. Retrieved 2019-03-23.
  18. ^ "Da geração do Fórum Social, governador do RS se diz liberal desde os 16". Folha de S.Paulo. 2021-01-05.
  19. ^ "Míriam Leitão: Governador eleito do RS defende a 'essência' social-democrata do PSDB".
  20. ^ GloboNews. July 2, 2019
  21. ^ Carvalho, Bruna (October 31, 2012). "'I don't think I'm an example of beauty', says mayor-elect in Pelotas" (in Portuguese) iG . Accessed on September 11, 2019