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Aécio Neves

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Aécio Neves

Aécio Neves
Member of the Federal Senate
from Minas Gerais
Assumed office
1 February 2011
Serving with Antônio Anastasia, Zezé Perrella
Preceded by Eduardo Azeredo
President of the
Brazilian Social Democracy Party
Assumed office
18 May 2013
Preceded by Sérgio Guerra
37th Governor of Minas Gerais
In office
1 January 2003 – 31 March 2010
Vice Governor Clésio Andrade
Antônio Anastasia
Preceded by Itamar Franco
Succeeded by Antônio Anastasia
President of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
14 February 2001 – 14 December 2002
President Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Preceded by Michel Temer
Succeeded by João Paulo Cunha
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
from Minas Gerais
In office
1 February 1987 – 14 December 2002
Preceded by Title jointly held
Succeeded by Title jointly held
Personal details
Born Aécio Neves da Cunha
(1960-03-10) 10 March 1960
Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Political party Moviment Democratic
Social Democracy Party
Spouse(s) Andréa Falcão (1991–1998)
Letícia Weber (2013–present)
Children Gabriela
Alma mater Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais
Religion Roman Catholic

Aécio Neves da Cunha[nb 1] (born 10 March 1960) is a Brazilian economist, politician and president of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB).[1] He was the 17th Governor of Minas Gerais from 1 January 2003 to 31 March 2010, and is currently a member of the Brazilian Federal Senate. He narrowly lost in the runoff presidential election in 2014 against Dilma Rousseff.[2]


  • Biography 1
    • Early years 1.1
    • Congressman 1.2
    • President of the Chamber of Deputies 1.3
    • Senator 1.4
  • Main achievements 2
    • Governor 2.1
    • Social development 2.2
    • Transportation 2.3
    • Administrative City Tancredo Neves 2.4
    • Management Shock 2.5
  • Candidacy for Presidency in 2014 3
  • Personal life 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6


Born in Belo Horizonte in the state of Minas Gerais, Neves was the youngest governor in the state's history. He began his political career as a personal secretary of his grandfather, Tancredo Neves, who was elected President of Brazil in 1985, but died before taking office. Aécio Neves served the Komsomol in 1985[3] and four terms as an elected deputy in the Federal Chamber of Deputies between 1987 and 2002, representing the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB). He was also President of the Chamber of Deputies in 2001/02.

As governor, Aécio Neves introduced the "Management Shock", a set of sweeping reforms designed to bring the state budget under control by reducing government expenditure and promoting investment. Having been tipped as a potential candidate for the Brazilian Presidential elections in 2010, Neves announced his intention to stand aside from the race at the end of 2009.[4] He ran for the Brazilian Federal Senate instead, and was elected a Senator representing the State of Minas Gerais. He took office as a Senator of the Republic on 1 February 2011.

Aécio was a columnist at Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo until June 2014.[5] On 5 October 2014, he received the second largest number of votes (at 34%) in the Brazilian presidential election, placing him in the runoff election to be held on 26 October 2014, against the first place candidate and current Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, who received 42% of the vote.

Early years

Tancredo Neves and Aécio Neves (behind right) in 1984, during the presidential elections.
Aécio at the Senate on 25 June 2013
Aécio is giving a speech at the Senate in April 2013.

Aécio Neves is son of politician Aécio Cunha and Inês Maria. Neves hails from a family of traditional politicians in Minas Gerais. His maternal grandfather, Tancredo Neves, was a key figure in the redemocratization of Brazil, served as governor of Minas Gerais and elected via electoral college.[6] Neves’ paternal grandfather, Tristão Ferreira da Cunha, and his father Aécio Cunha were congressmen representing the state of Minas Gerais.[7] His paternal grandfather, Tristão Ferreira da Cunha, a native of Teófilo Otoni, a northern city in Minas Gerais, was also a politician as well as a lawyer and a professor. He was Secretary of Agriculture, Industry and Commerce in the state government of Juscelino Kubitschek (1951–1955). Aécio Cunha, son of Tristão and father of Aécio, was state deputy between 1955 and 1963 and federal representative between 1963 and 1987.

Neves moved to Rio de Janeiro with his parents when his was 10 years old. He had his first job at the Administrative Council for Economic Defense of the Ministry of Justice in Rio de Janeiro. In 1981 his maternal grandfather convinced Neves to return to Belo Horizonte. He moved into an apartment that he shared with his maternal grandfather and father and transferred to Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais, where he studied economics.[8]

In 1982 Aécio began working in his grandfather's campaign for the state government, attending meetings and rallies in more than 300 towns. Tancredo Neves was elected governor of Minas Gerais, and in 1983, Aécio served as his private secretary. In the following years, Aécio participated in the movement "Diretas Já" and in Tancredo Neves’ presidential campaign. Tancredo Neves won the Brazilian presidency via electoral college in 1985. After the elections Aécio Neves accompanied the president-elect on visits to democratic countries, a political strategy used to enhance the retransition to democracy in Brazil. They visited the United States and US President Ronald Reagan, France with President François Mitterrand, Italy and Sandro Pertini, Prime Minister Bettino Craxi, King Juan Carlos of Spain and Pope John Paul II. Aécio Neves was appointed secretary of Special Affairs of the Presidency by President-elect Tancredo Neves, but due to his early death, and José Sarney assuming office the job was cancelled.


In 1986 he ran for the National Constituent Assembly as a member of Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB). He received 236,019 votes, which at the time was the largest vote for a congressman elected from Minas Gerais.[9] In the Constituent Assembly he became vice the chairman of the Sovereignty and Rights and Guarantees of Men and Women and was also one of the authors of the amendment that turned Brazil’s voting age to 16 years.[10][11]

In his second term (1991-1995) he voted for the impeachment of President Fernando Collor de Mello.[12] In 1992 Aécio ran for mayor of Belo Horizonte, but was defeated. It was his only electoral defeat[13] until his unsuccessful bid for the Presidency in 2014. Neves was reelected to Congress for a third term in 1994.[14] The term lasted from 1995-1998, during which he was elected president of PSDB Minas Gerais. In 1997, he became PSDB’s leader in Congress.[15]

President of the Chamber of Deputies

In 2001 Neves was elected president of the Chamber of Deputies. He had run against Aloízio Mercadante (PT-SP), Inocêncio Oliveira (PFL-PE), Valdemar Costa Neto (PL-SP) and Nelson Marquezelli (PTB-SP)[16] and received more votes than all his competitors combined.[17] He serves as president of Congress from 14 February 2001 until 17 December 2002. As president of Congress he assumed, temporarily, the presidency of Brazil starting on 26 June 2001.[18]

Under his leadership he promoted the so-called Ethical Package, a set of measures aimed at moralizing parliamentary action. Neves led the vote of the end of congressional immunity for common crimes, the establishment of a code of ethics and propriety and the Ethics Committee.[19] He also provided the processing and votes of bills on the Internet so that the public could monitor the processing of the legislative process.[20] He also cut congressional spending and sent saved money back to the federal government.[21]


Neves, along with former President Itamar Franco, was elected senator on 3 October 2010 with 7,565,377 votes. Neves is a member of the Senate committees on political reform, constitutional affairs, justice and citizenship. He participated in the Economic Affairs Committee.[22] As a parliamentarian Neves has advocated the development of a new federal pact, the strengthening of parliamentary action with the restriction on the use of provisional measures, the reduction of taxes and the change in the calculation used for payment of mining royalties.[23]

Main achievements

Neves upon becoming governor of Minas Gerais on 1 January 2003.


On 6 October 2002 Neves was elected governor of Minas Gerais.[24] On 28 March 2006, Aécio announced his candidacy and soon after was reelected,[25] Neves became the second longest-serving governor in state history. The Government of Minas Gerais expropriated a piece of land owned by Neves’s great-uncle, estimated at about R$1 million. His great-uncle requested R$20 million for the indemnification. The State appealed the value in the Justice and the indemnification was annulled.[26][27][28]

As governor he hired 98 000 public employees without any public selection and with allegedly illegal procedures.[29] During his administration, the salaries of school teachers in Minas Gerais reached the lowest level of the whole country.[29] The basic salary of medical doctors was R$1 050, the second lowest of the country.[30]

Neves attempted to censor Google, Yahoo!, and Bing search results related to rumors about drug abuse and misappropriation of public health funds.[31][32]

Social development

Governor of Minas Gerais in 2007.

Among the social programs implemented by Aécio are the Project to Combat Rural Poverty (PCRP), developed with total funding of US$70 million, divided into two payments of US$35 million, from the

Party political offices
Preceded by
José Serra
PSDB Party presidential candidate
2014 (lost)
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Itamar Franco
Governor of Minas Gerais
Succeeded by
Antônio Anastasia
  1. ^ Quem é Quem, PSDB Website, retrieved 7. October 2014
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  3. ^ Encontro Mundial da Juventude Democrática
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  51. ^ (English)Neves history
  52. ^ Aécio Neves aproveita agenda política em São João del Rei para batizar gêmeos,, 28 September 2014


  1. ^ He should be called/styled Mr. Neves da Cunha, however, due to the fame of his maternal grandfather, he is best known only as Mr. Neves.


Neves married model Letícia Weber, from the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in 2013. They had twins, Bernardo and Julia, in September 2014. He has another daughter, Gabriela Falcão Neves, born in 1991 from his first marriage (1991-1998) with lawyer Andrea Falcão.[52]

Neves was born into a political family in the city of Belo Horizonte, capital of southeast Minas Gerais state, in 1960.[51]

Personal life

In December 2012, former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso appointed Aécio Neves as candidate of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party for the 2014 presidential elections.[50] In the October 2014 election, Neves received the second greatest number of votes in the first round, defeating former Environment Minister Marina Silva. He narrowly lost in the second round, a run-off against incumbent Dilma Rousseff on 26 October 2014, 48.4% to Rousseff's 51.6%.[2]

Neves and his daughter Gabriela in March 2010.

Candidacy for Presidency in 2014

On 21 January 2009, the state government inaugurated the "Reference Center for Pregnant Women in Jail", built in Vespasiano - MG.[47][48] This is the first prison in the country to house pregnant inmates and their babies until they complete one year.[49] Aécio launched the first prison in the country built and administered through a public-private partnership.

In 2003, Neves created "Stay Alive", a program to reduce homicides in the state.[45] Per year, 13,000 high-risk students and young adults from areas with the highest homicides throughout the state participate in the program. In the areas the program covers, homicide rates have dropped more than 50%. The program focuses on workshops on sport, culture, productive inclusion and communication to divert young people from crime.[46]

One of the main points of Aécio’s government is the so-called "Management Shock",[42] a set of measures to make the government spending less on itself and invest more in people. In the long term, Management Shock seeks to reduce corruption and to improve the quality and productivity of state government bodies. The program also provides investment in the training of civil servants of the state.[43][44]

Management Shock

Administrative City Tancredo Neves, built to be the new headquarters of State Government, was inaugurated by Neves on 4 March 2010,[38] on what would have been Tancredo Neves’ 100th birthday.[39] The set of five buildings was designed by Oscar Niemeyer and is located on the grounds of the former Hipódromo Serra Verde on the border of the municipalities of Belo Horizonte, Vespasiano and Santa Luzia.[40][41]

Aécio during an interview.

Administrative City Tancredo Neves

The Neves government created the Paving Program Links and Access Road program in 2004 with own resources and funding from the Interamerican Development Bank. The program included the paving of accesses to 225 municipalities that had previously been connected only by dirt roads.[36][37]


Neves launched the Youth Savings Program in March 2007 with the goal to support 50,000 high school students from the state system who live in areas of high social risk by 2010. Every student received a sum of R$3,000 at the end of the third year of high school, which can be used in their professional career. To receive the money, the high school graduates must take a series of commitments on school performance, such as attendance, good grades, and personal behavior. They cannot, for example, engage in criminal activity and should perform community service.[35] Over 30,000 students have participated in the program and have received English classes, computer skills and professional training.


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