Wilson José Witzel (born 19 February 1968) is a Brazilian politician and lawyer who was the 63rd Governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro. A member of the Social Christian Party, Witzel is a former federal judge and is an ex-marine. On 28 October 2018, he was elected Governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro with a four-year term beginning in January 2019, replacing Luiz Fernando Pezão,[1] until his impeachment in April 2021.[2]

Wilson Witzel
Governor of Rio de Janeiro
In office
1 January 2019 – 30 April 2021
Suspended: 28 August 2020 – 30 April 2021
Vice GovernorCláudio Castro
Preceded byFrancisco Dornelles (acting)
Succeeded byCláudio Castro
Personal details
Wilson José Witzel

(1968-02-19) 19 February 1968 (age 56)
Jundiaí, São Paulo, Brazil
Political partyPSC (2018–present)
Helena Alves Brandão
(m. 2004)
Alma materFluminense Federal University (LL.B.)
OccupationPolitician, Lawyer, Professor of Economic Criminal Law
Known forFormer Federal Judge
Military service
AllegianceBrazil Brazil
Branch/service Brazilian Navy
Rank 2nd Lieutenant

Witzel holds a master's in Civil Law, and has been a professor of Criminal Law for more than 20 years. As a federal judge, he served in different civil and criminal courts in Rio de Janeiro and in Vitória (Espírito Santo).[3]

Life and career edit

Witzel was born in 1968 in Jundiaí.[4] He spent 17 years acting in civil and criminal courts. He was a tenured federal judge of the 6th Federal Civil Court until 2 March 2018, when he resigned to join the (PSC).[5]

He officially announced his candidacy for the position of Governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro on 21 July 2018.[6] His deputy was Rio de Janeiro city councilor Cláudio Castro, also of the PSC.[7][8]

Witzel initially polled at just 1%, tied with André Monteiro (PRTB), Dayse Oliveira (PSTU) and Marcelo Trindade (NOVO), and was only ahead of Luiz Eugênio Honorato (PCO). He was behind Romário (PODE), Eduardo Paes (DEM), Anthony Garotinho(PRP), Tarcísio Motta (PSOL), Indio da Costa (PSD), Pedro Fernandes (PDT) and Marcia Tiburi (PT).[9]

Polls closer to the election placed him much higher at 17%, still behind Eduardo Paes, who had 27%, and tied with Romario.[10] This was considered surprising because Witzel was a relatively unknown in the state and had only 27 seconds of electoral advertising time. Many commentators attributed his popularity to his early endorsement of Jair Bolsonaro PSL.[11][12][13]

On 7 October 2018, in the first round of the 2018 Rio de Janeiro gubernatorial election, Witzel received 3,154,771 votes or 41.28%, coming in first; second was Eduardo Paes, of the DEM, former mayor of Rio de Janeiro, with 1,494,831 votes or 19.56%, Tarcísio Motta came third with 10.72%. Witzel and Paes advanced to the second round. The result was considered a surprise given Witzel's low standing in the early polls.

In the second round of the elections, Wilson Witzel was endorsed by the PRTB's candidate André Monteiro,[14] the Party of the Republic (now known as the Liberal Party),[15] from PSD candidate Indio da Costa, who initailly remained neutral [16] saying that he did not support Witzel, but later decided to declare his support for the Witzel,[17] and from PDT's candidate Pedro Fernandes. [18]

On 28 October 2018, in the second round of the gubernatorial electtion, Witzel obtained 4,675,355 votes or 59.87%. He was thus elected Governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro for a term of 4 years starting January 2019; his opponent, Eduardo Paes, from DEM, received 3,134,400 votes or 40.13%.[19][20]

An ally of president Jair Bolsonaro, Witzel was elected after promising a "slaughter" of drug gangsters. Wilson Witzel officially took office as governor on 1 January 2019.[21] However, because Jair Bolsonaro took office as president of Brazil on the same day, Witzel's ceremony was postponed to 2 January 2019.[22][23] For his ceremony, Witzel had a special "governor's sash" made to be handed over to him by then-acting governor Francisco Dornelles. The practice, however, isn't official in the state of Rio de Janeiro, and wasn't tradition in the state's ceremonies.[22][24][25]

In September 2019, following the killing of an eight-year-old girl, hundreds protested in anger in the Complexo do Alemão favela where she was shot, and the hashtag "#aculpaedowitzel" (Portuguese: A culpa é do Witzel, lit.'It's Witzel's fault') led trending topics in Brazil. Cartoons showing the smiling governor wiping blood from his face.[26]

On 14 April 2020, Witzel tested positive for COVID-19[27] shortly after on 11 June 2020 an impeachment process was opened against Witzel alleging graft in purchase of medical supplies.[28]

On 28 August 2020, the Superior Court of Justice suspended Witzel from office as a result of suspected fraudulent purchases during the COVID-19 pandemic.[29]

References edit

  1. ^ "Wilson Witzel, do PSC, é eleito governador do RJ". G1. 28 October 2018.
  2. ^ Rosa, PH; Chaves, Raíza (30 April 2021). "Witzel sofre impeachment e perde o cargo de governador do Rio". R7 (in Portuguese). Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  3. ^ Godoy, Carol. "Jundiaiense está no segundo turno para o governo do RJ". tribunadejundiai.com.br.
  4. ^ "Wilson Witzel (PSC) - Candidato a Governador, Número 20".
  5. ^ "Wilson Witzel 20 (PSC) Governador | Rio de Janeiro | Eleições 2018". 28 October 2018.
  6. ^ "PSC oficializa candidatura de Wilson Witzel ao Governo do RJ". G1. 21 July 2018.
  7. ^ Dia, O. (August 6, 2018). "PSC-RJ anuncia vice na chapa de Wilson Witzel ao Governo do Estado". O Dia - Rio de Janeiro.
  8. ^ "Plano de Governo Wilson Witzel Coligação "Mais Ordem, Mais Progresso" PSC – Pros 20 Governo do Estado do Rio de Janeiro - Eleições 2018 - Fonte: Tribunal Superior Eleitoral (TSE)" (PDF).
  9. ^ "Ibope: Romário, Paes e Garotinho empatam na disputa pelo governo do Rio". Poder360. August 20, 2018.
  10. ^ "Datafolha governador – Rio de Janeiro, votos válidos: Paes, 27%; Romário e Witzel, 17%; Índio, 13%". G1. 6 October 2018.
  11. ^ "Wilson Witzel (PSC) diz ter certeza que o próximo presidente será Jair Bolsonaro". Terra.
  12. ^ "Bolsonaro allies ride conservative wave in Brazil elections". the Guardian. October 8, 2018.
  13. ^ "Indigenous, Transgender Candidates Among Brazil Surprises - The New York Times (October 8, 2018)". The New York Times.
  14. ^ "André Monteiro, do PRTB, declara apoio a Wilson Witzel (PSC) no 2º turno do RJ". G1. 10 October 2018.
  15. ^ "PR bate o martelo e anuncia apoio a Wilson Witzel no segundo turno do Rio". 11 October 2018.
  16. ^ "PSD anuncia apoio a Wilson Witzel (PSC) no 2º turno da eleição para governador do RJ | Eleições 2018 no Rio de Janeiro | G1". 8 October 2018.
  17. ^ "Witzel ganha apoio de políticos de outros partidos e de rivais do 1º turno". O Globo. October 10, 2018.
  18. ^ "Pedro Fernandes, do PDT, anuncia apoio a Wilson Witzel no RJ". G1. 15 October 2018.
  19. ^ "Eleições 2018 no Rio de Janeiro". G1.
  20. ^ "Eleições 2018: Quem é Wilson Witzel, o juiz que venceu a eleição de governador do Rio com discurso radical". R7.com. October 29, 2018.
  21. ^ Amorim, Daniela (2019-01-01). "Novo governador do Rio promete combater a corrupção" [Rio's new governor promises to combat corruption]. O Estado de S. Paulo (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 2020-08-28.
  22. ^ a b Alves, Raoni (2019-01-02). "Witzel recebe transmissão de cargo de Dornelles e fala em 'guerra' a 'terroristas'" [Dornelles hands office to Witzel, who speaks of 'war' on 'terrorists']. G1 (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 2020-08-28.
  23. ^ "Witzel 'fatia' agenda para acompanhar posse de Bolsonaro em Brasília" [Witzel 'slices' schedule to keep up with Bolsonaro's ceremony in Brasília]. Veja (in Brazilian Portuguese). 2018-12-30. Retrieved 2020-08-28.
  24. ^ Leal, Arthur (2019-01-04). "Witzel mandou confeccionar faixa de governador e faz questão de trajar adornos oficiais" [Witzeld had governor's sash made and insists on wearing official adornments]. O Globo (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 2020-08-28.
  25. ^ Albuquerque, Ana Luiza (2019-01-14). "No início do governo no Rio, Witzel surpreende com gestos inusitados" [Starting on Rio's government, Witzel surprises with unusual actions]. Folha de S.Paulo (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 2020-08-28.
  26. ^ The Guardian, 22 September 2019 brazilians blame rio governors shoot to kill policy
  27. ^ Reuters, 14 April 2020 [1]
  28. ^ "Rio de Janeiro governor faces impeachment proceedings over graft investigations". Reuters. June 10, 2020 – via www.reuters.com.
  29. ^ Sabóia, Gabriel (28 August 2020). "STJ afasta Witzel do cargo de governador do RJ; Pastor Everaldo é preso". UOL (in Portuguese). Retrieved 28 August 2020.
Political offices
Preceded by Governor of Rio de Janeiro
Succeeded by