By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Sunday’s general elections in Brazil not only elected the country’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, but also thirteen new state governors, including those who will lead Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Minas Gerais, three of Brazil’s largest states.
In Rio de Janeiro, former judge Wilson Witzel received 59.87 percent, beating former Rio de Janeiro City mayor, Eduardo Paes, who received 40.13 percent.
In his first interview as Rio’s new governor, Witzel said he would not be seeking to extend the federal government’s military intervention, when it ends at the end of this year, but would like to continue to have the support of the Armed Forces in the state. “I intend to take advantage of the legacy of the intervention,” Witzel told reporters.
In the tightest gubernatorial race of this election, former São Paulo City mayor, João Doria, had to wait until almost the last few votes were counted to declare himself the winner of the state of São Paulo. Doria received 51.75 percent of the valid votes, against opponent Marcio França’s 48.25 percent.
In the last few weeks, Doria, who is from one of Brazil’s largest political party, the PSDB, sought to link himself to presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, to obtain the needed votes to win the governor’s seat.
In Minas Gerais, Romeu Zema, from the NOVO party, easily won the election, receiving more than 71 percent of the valid votes. Zema, a businessman who recently entered the political arena based his campaign on ‘political renewal’ and preaching a reduction of public spending, the privatization of state-owned companies and the end of subsidies to specific sectors of the economy.
The only woman to be elected governor of a Brazilian state, was Fatima Bezerra, from the PT party. Bezerra works with human rights, the environment and the defense of the rights of workers and women and was a staunch supporter of impeached president Dilma Rousseff.