José Serra

José Serra

Infobox Politician
name = José Serra

caption =

office = Governor of São Paulo State
term_start = January 1, 2007
term_end =
predecessor = Cláudio Lembo
successor = Incumbent
constituency =
majority =
office2 = Mayor of São Paulo
term_start2 = January 1, 2005
term_end2 = March 31, 2006
predecessor2 = Marta Suplicy
successor2 = Gilberto Kassab
constituency2 =
majority2 =
office3 =
term_start3 =
term_end3 =
predecessor3 =
successor3 =
constituency3 =
majority3 =
birth_date = Birth date and age|1942|3|19|mf=y
birth_place = São Paulo
death_date =
death_place =
party = PSDB
relations =
spouse =
civil partner =
children =
residence =
occupation =
religion =

website =
footnotes =

José Serra (pron IPA2|ʒu'zɛ 'sɛʁɐ) (born March 19, 1942 in São Paulo) is a Brazilian politician, former secretary of state, congressman, senator, minister of Planning and Minister of Health, mayor of São Paulo and current Governor of São Paulo state.


Born in 1942 to Italian parents, Francesco Serra and Serafina Chirico, Serra interrupted his studies in engineering at age 22 and left the country in 1964, after the coup that established the military dictatorship era in Brazil. Serra had come to the attention of the authorities having served as President of the National Student Union União Nacional dos Estudantes (UNE), while he was a 4th year engineering student at the Escola Politécnica of the University of São Paulo. He was in exile from 1964 to 1978 in Chile, Argentina, and the United States. In Chile Jose Serra did his masters in Economics and taught Economics at the University. There he also married Monica Allende (1967), then a top ballerina at the National Ballet of Chile. They had two children, Veronica (1969) and Luciano (1973). In the United States Jose Serra did his Ph. D. in Economics at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) and later spent 2 years at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, NJ. On returning to Brazil after the political amnesty in 1978, Serra lectured economics at the University of Campinas, did research for Cebrap, and wrote for the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo. In 1982 he was appointed São Paulo's State Secretary for Economics and Planning under Franco Montoro's governorship, and become the most influent secretary of Montoro's Government. In 1986 and 1990 he was elected and reelected a Congressman. In 1994 he was elected Senator for the State of São Paulo with more than 6.5 million votes.

His first bid for the mayorship of the City of São Paulo came in 1988 in an election won by PT's Luiza Erundina. He ran again in 1996, resigning his position as Minister of Planning in order to participate in the election for mayor, which was won by Celso Pitta. Pitta was the designated successor of mayor Paulo Maluf, who headed the right-wing populist Progressive Party PP. After having served again as a minister in the Federal Government, Serra ran for President on behalf of the PSDB party in 2002. He was beaten by four-time candidate and PT founder Luiz Inácio da Silva (Lula) in the 2nd round. Serra came back in the municipal elections of 2004, and this time he was elected mayor of São Paulo, the largest and most influential city in Brazil, beating President Lula's candidate, Mayor Marta Suplicy, who was running for re-election.

In all elections in which he was a candidate since 1988 Serra represented the Party of the Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB), which he helped found in 1988 alongside then former and future São Paulo state Governors Franco Montoro and Mario Covas and the future Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, out of a split arising in the Brazilian pro-democracy movement party (PMDB). PSDB can be seen as a coalition of democrats, liberals and social democrats and enjoys a centrist outlook in comparison to its rival, the leftist Workers’ Party (PT) of current President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Both parties enjoy large support in São Paulo state, but the state has been governed by PSDB since 1994. Serra came to political prominence under Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s presidency (1994-2002) when he was appointed as Minister of Planning, and later as Minister of Health. During Serra's tenure in the Health Ministry, the generic drug industry, which gave wider access to medicaments to a poor population, and ANVISA, the Brazilian food and drug regulatory agency, were created. Also all form of tobacco advertising was banned, and cigarette packages were made to show pictures of diseases caused by smoking.

Serra was trying to be nominated as the PSDB candidate for President in the 2006 elections, but on March 14,2006, he decided to run for Governor of the State of São Paulo instead, and resigned his post as Mayor. He was elected and on January 1 2007, he took office as the Governor of São Paulo State.

His role in Brazilian politics today

Serra was the presidential candidate of the incumbent PSDB party in 2002. In 2004, he was elected Mayor of the city of São Paulo in the second round with 55% of the votes. In 2006, he ran for Governor of São Paulo state and was elected in the first round with almost 60% of the votes.


External links

* [ São Paulo 2004 mayoral race pages]
* Profile on

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