Wilson Witzel

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Wilson Witzel
Wilson Witzel com faixa de Governador 2 (cropped).jpg
63rd Governor of Rio de Janeiro
Assumed office
1 January 2019
Vice GovernorCláudio Castro
Preceded byFrancisco Dornelles (interim)
Personal details
Wilson José Witzel

(1968-02-19) 19 February 1968 (age 51)
Jundiaí, São Paulo, Brazil
Political partyPSC (since 2018)
Helena Alves Brandão (m. 2004)
Alma materFluminense Federal University
OccupationPolitician, Lawyer, Professor of Economic Criminal Law
Known forFormer Federal Judge
Military service
AllegianceBrazil Brazil
Branch/serviceCoat of arms of the Brazilian Navy.svg Brazilian Navy
RankSegundoTenente MB.gif 2nd Lieutenant

Wilson José Witzel (born 19 February 1968) is a Brazilian politician and lawyer who is the 63rd and current 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]

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).[2]

Life and career[edit]

Witzel was born in 1968 in Jundiaí.[3] He spent 17 years acting in civil and criminal courts. He was a tenured state judge of the 6th Federal Civil Court until 2 March 2018, when he resigned to join the (PSC).[4]

He officially announced his candidacy for the position of Governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro on 21 July 2018.[5] His deputy was Rio de Janeiro city councilor Cláudio Castro, also of the PSC.[6][7]

In the first survey, Wilson Witzel polled just 1% of voting intentions, 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), Tarcisio Motta (PSOL), Indio da Costa (PSD), Pedro Fernandes (PDT) and Marcia Tiburi (PT).[8]

The last poll before the first round put him at 17% of valid votes, still behind Eduardo Paes, who had 27%, and tied with Romario.[9] This was considered surprising because Witzel was a relative 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.[10][11][12]

On 7 October 2018, in the first round of the general elections in Brazil, Wilson Witzel received 41.28% of the valid votes (3,154,771 votes), coming in first; second was Eduardo Paes, of the DEM, former mayor of Rio de Janeiro, with 19.56% valid votes (1,494,831 votes); Tarcísio Motta came third with 10.72% of valid votes. 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 received support from the candidate of the (PRTB) André Monteiro,[13] the (PR) (Brazil), for which federal deputy Marcelo Delaroli had been candidate for vice-governor in Romário's campaign (PODE),[14] from the PSD, which is the party of the defeated candidate Indio da Costa, who at first remained neutral [15] saying that he did not support Wilson Witzel, but few days later decided to declare his support for the candidate,[16] and from Pedro Fernandes, the (PDT) candidate, who defied his party's decision to support Eduardo Paes (DEM) [17]

On 28 October 2018, in the second round of the general elections in Brazil, Witzel obtained 59.87% of the valid votes (4,675,355 votes), 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 40.13% of the valid votes (3,134,400 votes).[18][19]

An ally of the far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, Witzel was elected last year after promising a “slaughter” of drug gangsters. In September 2019, following the killing of an eight year old girl, hundreds demonstrated in anger in the Complexo do Alemão favela where she was shot, and the hashtag #aculpaedowitzel (it’s Witzel’s fault) led trending topics in Brazil. Cartoons showing the smiling governor wiping blood from his face.[20]


  1. ^ Wilson Witzel, do PSC, é eleito governador do RJ
  2. ^ Jundiaiense está no segundo turno para o governo do RJ - fonte: Tribuna de Jundiaí (07/10/2018)
  3. ^ Wilson Witzel (PSC) - Candidato a Governador, Número 20
  4. ^ Candidate for Governor Wilson Witzel
  5. ^ PSC oficializa candidatura de Wilson Witzel ao governo do Rio de Janeiro
  6. ^ PSC-RJ anuncia vice na chapa de Wilson Witzel ao governo do Estado
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ IBOPE: Romário, Paes e Garotinho empatam na disputa pelo governo do Rio
  9. ^ Datafolha governador - Rio de Janeiro: Paes, 27%; Romário e Witzel, 17%; Índio, 13%
  10. ^ Wilson Witzel (PSC) diz ter certeza que o próximo presidente será Jair Bolsonaro
  11. ^ Bolsonaro allies ride conservative wave in Brazil elections - Upsets include little-known judge beating Rio Olympics mayor in state governor race - The Guardian (Mon 8 Oct 2018)
  12. ^ Indigenous, Transgender Candidates Among Brazil Surprises - The New York Times (October 8, 2018)
  13. ^ André Monteiro (PRTB) declara apoio a Wilson Witzel (PSC) no segundo turno do Rio de Janeiro
  14. ^ PR bate o martelo e anuncia apoio a Wilson Witzel no segundo turno do Rio
  15. ^ PSD anuncia apoio a Wilson Witzel (PSC) no 2º turno da eleição para governador do RJ
  16. ^ Witzel ganha apoio de políticos de outros partidos e de rivais do 1º turno - Fonte: Jornal O Globo (10/10/2018)
  17. ^ Pedro Fernandes, do PDT, anuncia apoio a Wilson Witzel no RJ
  18. ^ Wilson Witzel diz que 'esperança renasceu' e agradece ligação de Paes após ser eleito - Com 100% dos votos apurados, segundo o Tribunal Superior Eleitoral, Witzel teve 4.675.355 (59,87%) dos votos válidos e Paes, 3.134.400 votos (40,13%) - Fonte: G1.Globo.com
  19. ^ Eleições 2018: Quem é Wilson Witzel, o juiz que venceu a eleição de governador do Rio com discurso radical - Fonte: R7/BBC
  20. ^ The Guardian, 22 September 2019 brazilians blame rio governors shoot to kill policy
Political offices
Preceded by
Francisco Dornelles
Governor of Rio de Janeiro