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Ciro Gomes
Ciro Gomes (cropped).jpg
Ciro in 2021
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
1 February 2007 – 1 February 2011
Constituency Ceará
Minister of National Integration
In office
1 January 2003 – 31 March 2006
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Preceded by Luciano Barbosa
Succeeded by Pedro Brito
Minister of Finance
In office
6 September 1994 – 31 December 1994
President Itamar Franco
Preceded by Rubens Ricupero
Succeeded by Pedro Malan
Governor of Ceará
In office
15 March 1991 – 6 September 1994
Vice Governor Lúcio Alcântara
Preceded by Tasso Jereissati
Succeeded by Francisco Aguiar
Mayor of Fortaleza
In office
1 January 1989 – 2 April 1990
Vice Mayor Juraci Magalhães
Preceded by Maria Luíza Fontenele
Succeeded by Juraci Magalhães
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Ceará
In office
1 February 1983 – 31 December 1988
Constituency At-large
Personal details
Born (1957-11-06) 6 November 1957 (age 65)
Pindamonhangaba, São Paulo, Brazil
Political party PDT (since 2015)
Other political
  • PDS (1982–1983)
  • PMDB (1983–1990)
  • PSDB (1990–1997)
  • PPS (1997–2005)
  • PSB (2005–2013)
  • PROS (2013–2015)
Patrícia Saboya
(m. 1983; div. 1999)
Patricia Pillar
(m. 1999; div. 2011)
Giselle Bezerra
(m. 2017)
Children 4
Relatives Cid Gomes (brother)
Alma mater Federal University of Ceará (LL.B.)
Profession Lawyer, university professor, writer

Ciro Ferreira Gomes GOMM (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈsiɾu feˈʁe(j)ɾɐ ˈɡomis]; born 6 November 1957), known mononymously as Ciro, is a Brazilian politician, lawyer, and academic. Ciro is currently affiliated with and vice-president of the Democratic Labour Party (PDT).

Born in São Paulo but raised in Ceará into a political family, Ciro began his political career at the age of 27 in 1984. Ciro was elected Mayor of Fortaleza at age of 30 in 1988 and was elected Governor of Ceará at the age of 32 in 1990. During his tenure, Ciro was the most popular governor in the country. His Viva Criança program that reduced infant mortality in Ceará by 32% was given an international award by UNICEF. His success led to his appointment as Minister of Finance for a few months in late 1994 under President Itamar Franco, where he presided over the ongoing Real Plan that eventually stabilized the economy and ended hyperinflation.

Ciro ran for President of Brazil for the Popular Socialist Party (PPS) in 1998 and 2002, coming in third and fourth place. In both Ciro presented himself as critical of Fernando Henrique Cardoso presidency and attempted to be a centre-left alternative to petista candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Following the election, Ciro was appointed by President Lula as Minister of National Integration, presiding over regional development and the interbasin transfer of the São Francisco River. In 2006, Ciro was elected federal deputy for Ceará. Ciro was expected to succeed Lula for the 2010 election, but Lula instead appointed Energy Minister Dilma Rousseff, a move he criticized. Ciro coordinated her successful presidential campaigns, but afterwards retired to the private sector.

In 2018, Ciro returned to politics after joining the Democratic Labour Party, launching his long-awaited third campaign for the presidency. Running on a platform that included a public credit debt refinancing, a progressive tax system with dividend tax, increased funding for education and healthcare, a federal agency defending LGBTQ rights, and a neo-Keynesian, re-industrializing platform, he sought to portray himself as an alternative between Lula's appointee Fernando Haddad and right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro. Though he polled better than Haddad directly against Bolsonaro, Ciro finished in third place. Following Bolsonaro's victory, many argued that Ciro would have won if he had been nominated by a centre-left coalition. Ciro refused to endorse Haddad afterwards, PT's offer to be his running mate, and has opposed Lula's party within the Brazilian left.

Described as having "one of the sharpest tongues in Brazilian politics", Ciro's public image has been characterized by his outspoken personality, receiving both praise and criticism. Ciro is currently one of the main opposers of Jair Bolsonaro's presidency, accusing Bolsonaro and his sons of criminal militia involvement. Ciro was also critical of Michel Temer's presidency, characterizing Dilma's impeachment as a coup. He has also been critical of Lula's presidency, accusing him of enabling Dilma's impeachment through Temer and Eduardo Cunha's appointments, and both of leading a social liberal government that led to the current Brazilian recession and Bolsonaro's election. Since joining PDT in 2015, Ciro has led a resurgence of PT's traditional left-wing nationalist opposition by PDT and the legacy of Getúlio Vargas, receiving accusations of being a left-wing populist. In the private sector, Ciro served as director for Brazilian rail company Transnordestina S/A and steelmaker Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional, and he is a best-selling author.

Early life

Ciro was born in Pindamonhangaba, São Paulo, the son of José Euclides Ferreira Gomes Filho and Maria José Ferreira Gomes in 1957. His family moved to Sobral, Ceará in 1962. His father's family, the Ferreira Gomes family, has been active in Ceará politics for several generations.

Ciro enrolled in the Law School of the Federal University of Ceará in 1976. Ciro later recalled that within the student movements of the time, he was most closely affiliated with the Catholic Left. Upon graduation, Ciro returned to the city of Sobral, to work for the local government as a municipal prosecutor.

State political career

Ciro PDS 192
Ciro campaign poster in 1982

State politics

Ciro ran for office for the first time in 1982, as a State Deputy representing Sobral, and won; he began his first term in February 1983. Ciro attracted substantial media attention early on for his willingness to debate national political questions — including democracy, social reforms, and international relations — which he said other Ceará politicians ignored. In 1985, Ciro also started teaching tax law as a professor at the University of Fortaleza.

In 1988, Ciro was elected Mayor of Fortaleza, the capital of Ceará, and began his term the next year. As Mayor of Fortaleza, endorsed centre-left candidate Mário Covas in the first round of the 1989 presidential election and socialist candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the second round.

Governor of Ceará

Ciro was elected the Governor of Ceará in 1990, at the age of 32, becoming the second youngest governor in the country at the time. His efforts included policies to support small businesses and reduce bureaucracy. He also cracked down on tax evasion, increasing state revenue. Ciro also ordered increased investments in education and in public health; by July 1992, a Datafolha poll found he was the most popular governor in Brazil, with a 74% approval rate, and Time magazine listed him as one of the 100 most important emerging leaders on the world stage.

One of his most high-profile achievements as governor was the construction of a 71-mile long water canal, the "Canal do Trabalhador." Northeastern Brazil suffered a series of droughts in 1991, 1992, and 1993; in 1993, Ciro managed to organize and complete the construction of the canal in only 3 months, successfully bringing water to the capital city of Fortaleza and thus preventing a water supply crisis.

Ciro' "Programa Viva Criança" public health program was attributed with a 32% decrease in infant mortality in the state, and was awarded the Maurice Paté prize by UNICEF.

National political career

Minister of Finance

In 1994 he served as Minister of Finance in the administration of Itamar Franco. This appointment came at a crucial time in Brazil's modern economic development, when the Real Plan was underway as an economic stabilization program to fight hyperinflation. His successful performance overseeing the Real Plan was credited by some with helping Fernando Henrique Cardoso win the subsequent presidential election in the fall of 1994, after Cardoso campaigned on continuing the plan's implementation. However, Ciro would break with the Cardoso government in 1997.

1998 presidential candidacy

1998 Brazilian presidential election map (Round 1)
Map of the 1998 Brazilian presidential election. Ciro only managed to win his home state of Ceará.

A founding member of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), Ciro would leave the party, which was originally centre-left, in 1997 following its right turn. Ciro would join the Socialist People's Party (PPS) in opposition to the Cardoso administration, and ran as a member of the party for president in 1998 with Roberto Freire as his running mate. During the campaign, Ciro attempted to position himself as a left alternative to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a staple of the Brazilian left who had run for president twice prior to 1998 as a member of the Workers' Party (PT).

The centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB), a kingmaker in Brazilian politics, considered supporting his candidacy, but did not end up doing so. In the end, Ciro came in third place in the first round, and won 11% of the vote (only the top two candidates advance to the second round). The sole state he won was Ceará, his home state. However, Cardoso was re-elected with a majority.

2002 presidential candidacy and aftermath

During the 2002 presidential election, Ciro looked to be formidable, even passing PSDB candidate José Serra, the main centre-right candidate, at one point in the polls. However, a series of gaffes, most notable a crass joke about his wife Patrícia Pillar, led to his collapse in the polls, and Ciro came in fourth place in the first round, with 12% of the vote. He supported Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the second round of the 2002 election, and was ultimately chosen to be the Minister for National Integration in Lula's new government. When the PPS' leadership voted to leave the governing coalition in December 2004 that propped up Lula's government, Ciro chose to remain in his post. As a result, the PPS removed him from the party leadership, and he decided to join the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) in 2005. In 2006 he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies with 16.19% of the vote, the highest percentage ever achieved by a single candidate in a proportional election.

He has been publicly critical of the efforts to impeach Dilma Rousseff and prosecute Lula.

2018 presidential election

Having passed on a presidential campaign in 2010, Ciro announced his long-awaited third bid for the presidency in the 2018 presidential election as the candidate of the PDT. For the position of Vice President, Ciro chose Kátia Abreu, a centre former Minister of Agriculture, as his running mate.

Logo of Ciro Gomes presidential campaign 2018
Logo used during Ciro's 2018 presidential campaign.

Political analysts had widely speculated that, since Lula was legally barred from running for president (after his conviction for corruption, under Brazil's "Ficha Limpa" law), Ciro would attract many of Lula's supporters in the 2018 presidential election, and potentially unite a number of left and center-left political parties. His main contender for the left vote was Fernando Haddad, the former Mayor of São Paulo, running as a member of the Workers' Party (PT) with Lula's backing. Polling showed that Ciro would have performed better versus Bolsonaro in the second round than Haddad would have.

While Ciro polled competitively throughout most of the election, Lula's endorsement of Haddad rallied enough of his former voters to support Haddad. As a result, Ciro finished in third place in the first round, only coming in first place in his home state of Ceará.

In the second round, Ciro announced his opposition to right-wing rival Jair Bolsonaro, who he describes as a "fascist" for his pro-military rule statements, but did not formally endorse Haddad. Following the election of Bolsonaro over Haddad, a number of major left figures including Governor Rui Costa of Bahia, a member of the PT, indicated they regret supporting Haddad over Ciro.

2022 presidential election

2022 Brazil Presidential Election, Gomes
Ciro Gomes (PDT) vote distribution in the first round}}

Ciro Gomes is running for president for the fourth time in the 2022 presidential election.

Personal life

Ciro has lived in Ceará for most of his life, graduating with a degree in law from the Federal University of Ceará. He was a professor of tax law and constitutional law, and wrote three books on political economy: "No País dos Conflitos" ("In the Country of Conflicts", 1994); "O Próximo Passo – Uma Alternativa Prática ao Neoliberalismo" ("The Next Step - A Practical Alternative to Neoliberalism", 1995), co-authored with Harvard professor Roberto Mangabeira Unger; and "Um Desafio Chamado Brasil" ("A Challenge Called Brazil," 2002).

Posse Senadores 2019 (46950673991)
Ciro with his girlfriend Giselle Bezerra.

He was also a visiting researcher at Harvard Law School. He served in the private sector as the President of Transnordestina S/A (a commodities transportation company in Northeastern Brazil), and on the Board of Directors of Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional. Two of his four siblings (Cid Gomes and Ivo Gomes), his father, and his uncle, have all been involved in Brazilian politics.

He was married to his first wife, politician Patrícia Saboya, from 1983 to 1999, with whom he has three children: Lívia, Ciro and Yuri. Like her husband, Patricia Saboya Gomes was also politically active in the Northeastern state of Ceara, including serving as a Federal Deputy and a Senator for the state; the two were seen as political allies. From 1999 to 2011, Ciro was married to Brazilian actress Patrícia Pillar. In 2013, he began a relationship with Zara Castro, with whom he had his fourth child, Gael, in 2015. Ciro is the godfather of his advisor Roberto Mangabeira Unger's eldest child, Gabriel.

Since 2017, his girlfriend has been TV producer Giselle Bezerra; she was previously a dancer on the popular Brazilian TV show Xuxa.


  • Medal of Merit for Defense (Order of Great Cross), awarded by the President, on November 21, 2003.
  • Juscelino Kubitscheck Medal (Highest Order), awarded by the Governor of Minas Gerais, 1997.
  • World Prize from UNICEF - Maurice Pate Leadership for Children Award, 1993.

Published works

He has written four books:

  • No País dos Conflitos (1994) - co-authored with Miriam Leitão.
  • O Próximo Passo – Uma Alternativa Prática ao Neoliberalismo (1996) - co-authored with Roberto Mangabeira Unger.
  • Um Desafio Chamado Brasil (2002) - a collection of op-eds written for the newspapers O Estado de S. Paulo and Jornal da Tarde between 1995 and 1999.
  • Projeto Nacional: O Dever Da Esperança (2020).

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Ciro Gomes para niños

  • List of mayors of Fortaleza
National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Influential Hispanic fashion designers
Carolina Herrera
Oscar de la Renta
Paola Hernández
Mondo Guerra
Marisol Deluna
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