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Michel Miguel Elias Temer Lulia (Portuguese pronunciation: [miˈʃɛw miˈɡɛw eˈliɐs ˈtẽmeɾ luˈliɐ]; born 23 September 1940) is a Brazilian lawyer and politician who is the 37th and current President of Brazil. He took office on 31 August 2016, after the impeachment and removal of his predecessor Dilma Rousseff, having served as Vice President since 2011 and as Acting President since 12 May 2016, when Rousseff was suspended from her presidential powers and duties while she faced impeachment trial.[1] At 75 years, he is the oldest person to assume the office.

His Excellency
Michel Temer
Michel Temer planalto 3 (cropped).jpg
37th President of Brazil
Assumed office
31 August 2016
Vice President None[a]
Preceded by Dilma Rousseff
24th Vice President of Brazil
In office
1 January 2011 – 31 August 2016
Acting President: 12 May – 31 August 2016
President Dilma Rousseff
Preceded by José Alencar
President of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
2 February 2009 – 17 December 2010
Preceded by Arlindo Chinaglia
Succeeded by Marco Maia
In office
2 February 1997 – 14 February 2001
Preceded by Luís Eduardo Magalhaes
Succeeded by Aécio Neves
President of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party
In office
9 September 2001 – 5 April 2016
Preceded by Jader Barbalho
Succeeded by Romero Jucá
Federal Deputy from São Paulo
In office
6 April 1994 – 30 December 2010
In office
16 March 1987 – 1 February 1991
Personal details
Born Michel Miguel Elias Temer Lulia
(1940-09-23) 23 September 1940 (age 76)
Tietê, São Paulo, Brazil
Political party Brazilian Democratic Movement
Spouse(s)
Domestic partner Neusa Popinigis (separated)
Children 6
Residence Alvorada Palace
Alma mater University of São Paulo
Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo
Signature

On 31 August 2016, the Senate voted 61–20 to convict the impeached President Dilma Rousseff and remove her from office, allowing a political shift from a center-left to a center-right government. Temer succeeded to the presidency, to serve out what would have been the remainder of Rousseff's second term until 1 January 2019. In his first speech in office, Temer called for a government of "national salvation" and asked for the trust of the Brazilian people.[2] He also signaled his intention to overhaul the pension system and labor laws, and curb public spending.[3]

Contents

Early life and education

Born in Tietê, São Paulo, Temer is the son of Nakhoul "Miguel" Elias Temer Lulia and March Barbar Lulia, Maronite Catholic Lebanese immigrants who migrated to Brazil in 1925.[4][5] His parents, along with three older siblings, immigrated to Brazil from Btaaboura, in Northern Lebanon, to escape famine and instability due to World War I. In Brazil, his parents had five more children, and Temer is the youngest. Temer does not speak fluent Arabic, but is able to understand the subject of a conversation in that language.[6][7][8]

In his childhood, Temer dreamed of being a pianist. His dream, however, could not be accomplished, as there were no piano teachers in his city.[9] As a teenager, he wanted to be a writer.[10] After failing chemistry and physics classes in his first year of high school, he gave up the "curso científico," which prioritized hard sciences and math. In 1957, he moved to São Paulo to finish the high school in the " curso clássico", composed mainly of subjects in the humanities and languages.

In 1959, he followed the footsteps of his four older brothers and joined the Law School of the University of São Paulo, getting his degree in 1963.[11] In his freshman year, he became involved with politics by becoming a treasurer of the school's students' union. In 1962, Temer ran for the presidency of the union, but he was defeated by 82 votes.[11]

Temer stayed neutral before the 1964 coup d'état.[10] With the beginning of military rule, he moved away from politics. In 1974, he completed a doctorate in public law at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo.

Michel Temer's parents both hailed from Btaaboura, a small village in northern Lebanon whose population is entirely Antiochian Greek Orthodox, an ancient Christian denomination. But he was raised in Brazil within the Catholic mainstream and later confirmed his affiliation as a Roman Catholic.[12]

Academic career

In 1968, Temer began lecturing on constitutional law at PUC-SP, where he also taught civil law and was director of the postgraduate department. He was also director of the Brazilian Institute Of Constitutional Law and member of the Ibero-American Institute of Constitutional Law.

Publications

Temer published four major works in constitutional law. His most famous book is Elements of Constitutional Law. It was published in 1982 and sold over 240,000 copies.[13] The book focuses on the organization of the Brazilian State, especially on the functioning of the three powers.

His book Democracy and Citizenship, published in 2006, highlighted the relevance Law and included some of his speeches as a federal deputy. In his works, he showed himself to be a supporter of parliamentarism and a political recall system, while opposing economic interventionism and tax increases.[14]

However, he considered himself a writer only in 2013, when he published Anonymous Intimacy, a book of poems. It consists of 120 poems, many of which were written on napkins during his plane trips between São Paulo and Brasílla.[14] Temer said writing poems helped him recover from the "barren arena of legislative politics".[15]

Political career

Beginning in 1987 Temer served six consecutive terms in the Chamber of Deputies,[16] and on three separate occasions served two-year terms as President of the Chamber (in 1997–1998, 1999–2000 and 2009–2010).[4] Temer was also a member of the 1988 National Constituent Assembly, which promulgated the current Constitution of Brazil.[4] Politically he rose to become chairman of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), the largest party in Brazil.[16]

 
Temer campaigning with Dilma Rousseff in 2010.
 
Temer with former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden at the Itamaraty Palace in Brasília, 11 October 2013.

He is the second Vice President of Lebanese origin, after José Maria Alkmin. His family originates from the town of Btaaboura in Koura District, neighboring the city of Tripoli in Northern Lebanon.[17][18]

Investigations

According to official government documents published by Wikileaks, Temer provided information to the U.S. Embassy in Brazil since 2006.[19] Temer is described as gaining the loyalty of lower class Brazilians by strengthening social programs and being opposed to Lula da Silva.[20] The report has the status "sensitive but unclassified" with Temer stating that Lula da Silva "might finally begin to heed his friends on the left" and would "be led away from the orthodox macro-economic policies that have dominated his first term".[20]

First Impeachment process

The first attempt to impeach Temer[21] began with the decision on 6 April 2016, by the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Eduardo Cunha, to form commission for termination analysis of liability for crime offered by attorney Mariel M. Marra. Four other requests for impeachment were presented to Cunha.[22] On 17 May 2016, the Minister Marcos Aurélio allowed the impeachment request to enter the agenda of the Supreme Federal Court plenary session.[23]

Role in the impeachment process against Dilma Rousseff

In 2015 and 2016, Temer was involved in controversy as Dilma Rousseff's impeachment process unfolded. In December 2015, Temer sent a letter to the president complaining about his distance from government decisions. The letter began with the Latin proverb "Verba Volant, Scripta Manent" (spoken words fly, written words remain). Temer described the communication as “personal,” and a means of unburdening himself about various complaints against the president. He said Rousseff had made him look like a “decorative” vice president rather than an active one, despite having been invited to support her government several times in the dialogue with Congress, a role he only accepted in 2015.

The letter has been commented on and mocked on Brazilian social media, with images depicting the vice president as a Christmas decoration, making fun of his use of Latin, and photos purporting to show the president laughing while she reads the missive, among many other things. The president's office had no immediate comment on the images,[24] but Rousseff had condemned him as a traitor to her administration.[25]

Later, in April 2016, an audio file of Temer was leaked to the media. In it, Temer speaks as if the impeachment process had already been confirmed and he was the new president.[26] “I don’t want to generate false expectations,” Temer said on the recordings, which were first published by Folha de S. Paulo on 23 May. “Let’s not think that a possible change in government will solve everything in three or four months.”

The leak came just hours before a special lower house committee was scheduled to vote whether to back the request to impeach the president, generating complaints and accusations of treachery and lack of support from a vice president conspiring against the elected president. Temer alleged it was sent incorrectly to a WhatsApp group of his party's representatives in Congress.

Acting President

 
Vice President Temer holds his first cabinet meeting as Acting President at the Planalto Palace, 13 May 2016.

In the early hours of 12 May 2016, the Federal Senate voted to accept President Dilma Rousseff's impeachment indictment and, therefore, Vice President Temer assumed the presidential powers and duties as Acting President. In accordance with the rules set by the Brazilian Constitution, Temer would be Acting President for a maximum of 180 days. During that period, the Senate had to decide whether to convict President Rousseff and remove her from office (in which case, Temer would become President for the remainder of the term) or to acquit her of the crimes of responsibility charges (Rousseff would have her presidential powers and duties restored to her). Temer is awaiting a decision from the Supreme Federal Court to start an impeachment process against him.

On his first day as acting president, Vice President Temer appointed a new cabinet, reducing the number of ministries from 31 to 22. Women's rights and Afro-Brazilian rights activists criticized the fact that all of the appointed ministers were white men, for the first time since 1979.[27][28]

On 2 June 2016, Temer was declared ineligible for the 2018 election.[29]

President (since 2016)

 
Michel Temer during his inauguration in the National Congress, 31 August 2016.
 
Temer with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Hangzhou, China, 2 September 2016. China is Brazil's largest commercial partner.[30]

After the impeachment conviction and resulting removal from office of Dilma Rousseff, on 31 August 2016 Michel Temer succeeded as President of Brazil. His term finishes on 31 December 2018.[31] The vice-president position becomes vacant, and the President of the Chamber of Deputies will act as the first constitutional substitute during his term.

In October 2016, the Constitution of Brazil may be amended by deputies[32] and the public spending may be effectively frozen for twenty years, being only adjusted for inflation. This matter is being subject of both praise and criticism among the Brazilian middle-class.[33]

In November 2016, Marcelo Calero, Temer's former Minister of Culture, resigned and alleged that Temer had pressured him to help an ally, Geddel Vieira Lima, the government secretary, who had invested in a development that was being delayed by a heritage preservation measure by allowing construction to go ahead in spite of said measure. Vieira Lima resigned on 25 November 2016, and opposition leaders stated that they would seek President Temer's impeachment over this incident.[34] Temer denied the corruption allegations but admitted talking to Calero about the project.[35]

In December 2016, Marcelo Odebrecht confirmed paying bribes to President Temer.[36]

In March 2017, Temer decided to move to the vice-presidential palace again. He had recent problems with the Brazilian Historical Heritage Institute due to the architectural changes he made to the Presidential Palace.[37][38] In an interview to the Brazilian news magazine Veja he mentioned he could sleep in the "ample rooms" and questioned the possibility of ghosts.[39][40][41][42][43][44]

On 28 April 2017, trade unions called for a general strike against the pension and labor reforms proposed in his government.[45]

Second attempt to impeach Temer

On 17 May 2017, secretly taped recordings leaked by O Globo, a leading national newspaper, reveal the President discussing hush money pay-offs with Joesley Batista, the businessman who runs the country’s biggest meat-packing firm JBS,[46] [47][48] [49] prompting talk of trying to impeach him again.[50][51] On Wednesday May 24 2017, while thousands of angry demonstrators marched towards Congress demanding the resignation of President Temer and calling for immediate direct presidential elections, President Temer sought to suppress a revolt within his own party.[52] Overwhelmed by protests, the President deployed federal troops to restore order in the capital. [53][54] Many photographs and testimonials taken during the protest account for the violence of the police who shot at demonstrators during the manifestation.[55] President Temer's refusal to resign is making him increasingly unpopular and has provoked not only a political stalemate but also uncertainty, plunging the country into crisis and amplifying the worst recession in its history. [56][57] [58] On 9 June 2017, the Brazilian Superior Electoral Court voted 4–3 and acquitted President Temer and former President Dilma Rousseff of alleged illegal campaign funding in the 2014 election and thus allowing him to stay in office.[59][60]

On 26 June 2017, he was charged with corruption for accepting bribes by Prosecutor-General Rodrigo Janot delivered the charges to the Supreme Court.[61]

Award and decorations

Award or decoration Country Note
  Grand Cross of Dannebrog   Denmark Contribution to the arts, sciences or business life or for those working for Danish interests
  Knighthood of the Order of Prince Henry (Grand Officer)   Portugal Exceptional and outstanding merit for Portugal and its culture
  Legion of Honor   France French highest order of merit.

References

  1. ^ The President of the Chamber of Deputies will be first in line of succession for the Brazilian presidency, for the rest of Temer's term.
  1. ^ Watts, Jonathan (12 May 2016). "Dilma Rousseff suspended as senate votes to impeach Brazilian president". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 3 September 2016. 
  2. ^ "Brazil impeachment: New leader Temer calls for trust". BBC. 13 May 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2016. 
  3. ^ Magalhaes, Luciana; Jelmayer, Rogerio (31 August 2016). "Michel Temer Seeks New Start as Brazil’s President". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 3 September 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c "Presidência da República Federativa do Brasil: Vice-Presidente: Biografia" (in Portuguese). 
  5. ^ País, Ediciones El (10 April 2015). "O cardeal Temer". Retrieved 2 February 2017. 
  6. ^ Isaura Daniel (25 March 2013). "Os planos de Michel Temer para o mundo árabe". Agência de Notícias Brasil-Árabe. Retrieved 26 April 2016. 
  7. ^ "Conciliador, ‘charmosão’ e ‘mordomo de filme de consternação': afinal, quem é Michel Temer". Entretenimento bit. 30 March 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2016. 
  8. ^ Diogo Bercito (14 June 2015). "Origem de políticos brasileiros, Líbano tem rua com nome de Michel Temer". Folha de S. Paulo. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  9. ^ "Agora com Dilma, Temer quase foi vice de Serra - Eleições - iG". Último Segundo. Retrieved 2017-01-22. 
  10. ^ a b "Se houver impeachment, Michel Temer será 22º advogado a presidir o Brasil". Consultor Jurídico (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-01-22. 
  11. ^ a b Cappelletti, Milton. "Michel Temer, o paciente. Quem é o sucessor de Dilma Rousseff". Observador (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-01-23. 
  12. ^ "Vilarejo libanês do 'filho Michel Temer' segue igreja ortodoxa grega - 08/05/2016 - Poder - Folha de S.Paulo". Retrieved 2 February 2017. 
  13. ^ "Conheça Temer, poeta chamado de 'charmosão' e de professor 'bonzinho' - 31/03/2016 - Poder - Folha de S.Paulo". www1.folha.uol.com.br. Retrieved 2017-01-23. 
  14. ^ a b "Livros revelam posições de Temer, que também se arriscou na poesia". Consultor Jurídico (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-01-23. 
  15. ^ "Faditu". www.faditu.com.br (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-01-23. 
  16. ^ a b Cantanhéde, Eliane (1 November 2010). "Líder do PMDB, Temer terá mais força que vices de FHC e de Lula" [As leader of the PMDB, Temer has more power than the vice presidents of Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Lula]. Folha de S.Paulo (in Portuguese). São Paulo, Brazil. Archived from the original on 11 May 2016. 
  17. ^ Dyke, Joe (2 July 2014). "The most powerful Lebanese person alive". Executive Magazine. Archived from the original on 11 May 2016. 
  18. ^ Bercito, Diogo (4 May 2015). "Politicians of Lebanese descent flourish in Brazil". The Daily Star. Lebanon. Archived from the original on 5 May 2015. (Subscription required (help)). 
  19. ^ Brazil's acting president used to be US intel informant – WikiLeaks. rt.com (13 May 2016)
  20. ^ a b "Pmdb Chief Affirms Party's Position as Power Broker but Balks at Predicting Presidential Race". 21 June 2017. Retrieved 2 February 2017 – via WikiLeaks PlusD. 
  21. ^ Renan Ramalho (5 April 2016). "STF manda Cunha dar andamento a pedido de impeachment de Temer" (in Portuguese). G1. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  22. ^ Fernanda Calgaro (5 April 2016). "Cunha rejeita pedido de impeachment de Temer feito por Cid Gomes" (in Portuguese). G1. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  23. ^ "Pedido de impeachment de Temer é liberado para entrar na pauta do STF" (in Portuguese). Estado de Minas. 17 May 2016. Retrieved 18 May 2016. 
  24. ^ Trevisani, Paulo; Jelmayer, Rogerio (8 December 2015). "Brazil Vice President Sends Letter Criticizing President Dilma Rousseff". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 17 April 2016. (Subscription required (help)). 
  25. ^ Romero, Simon (21 April 2016). "Brazil’s Vice President, Unpopular and Under Scrutiny, Prepares to Lead". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 11 May 2016. 
  26. ^ Edgerton, Anna; Colitt, Raymond (11 April 2016). "Leaked Brazil Tape Shows VP Temer Practicing Unity Address". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 11 May 2016. 
  27. ^ Sims, Shannon (12 May 2016). "Brazil's New President Michel Temer Fills Cabinet With Only Men". Forbes. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  28. ^ Koren, Marina (25 May 2016). "Who’s Missing From Brazil’s Cabinet?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  29. ^ Greenwald, Glenn (3 June 2016). "Credibility of Brazil’s Interim President Collapses as He Receives 8-Year Ban on Running for Office". The Intercept. Retrieved 10 September 2016. 
  30. ^ "China Remains Brazil's Largest Commercial Partner". Sputnik. Retrieved 27 January 2017. 
  31. ^ "Brazil's Rousseff ousted by Senate, Temer sworn in". 1 September 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2017 – via Reuters. 
  32. ^ "Le Brésil gèle ses dépenses publiques sur 20 ans". 11 October 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2017. 
  33. ^ "Técnicos e parlamentares alertam para desmonte do Estado com PEC 241". Retrieved 2 February 2017. 
  34. ^ Romero, Simon (25 November 2016). "Brazil’s President, Michel Temer, Embroiled in New Corruption Scandal". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 25 November 2016. 
  35. ^ "Brazil president Michel Temer accused of corruption". BBC News. 25 November 2016. Retrieved 25 November 2016. 
  36. ^ "ODEBRECHT CONFIRMS PAYING BRIBES TO PRESIDENT MICHEL TEMER". Retrieved 2 February 2017. 
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  38. ^ "Iphan manda governo tirar rede de proteção do Alvorada - Política - Estadão". Estadão (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-03-13. 
  39. ^ ""Será que tem fantasma?", diz Temer comentando saída do Palácio da Alvorada". Jornal do Brasil (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-03-13. 
  40. ^ "Temer, o reformista | VEJA.com". VEJA.com (in Portuguese). 2017-03-11. Retrieved 2017-03-13. 
  41. ^ "Em entrevista, Temer diz que deixou o Palácio da Alvorada por medo de fantasma: “Não conseguia dormir”". Portal Fórum. 2017-03-12. Retrieved 2017-03-13. 
  42. ^ "Temer rechaza vivir en palacio presidencial por ¿fantasmas?". El Universal (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-03-13. 
  43. ^ Clarin.com. "Michel Temer se muda del palacio presidencial por miedo a los fantasmas y estallan las burlas". www.clarin.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-03-13. 
  44. ^ "Brazil’s President Moved Out Because of ‘Ghosts’". Time. Retrieved 2017-03-13. 
  45. ^ lefigaro.fr. "Grève générale au Brésil". Le Figaro (in French). Retrieved 2017-05-19. 
  46. ^ "A very meaty scandal. Leaked recordings are trouble for Michel Temer". The Economist. Retrieved 19 May 2017. 
  47. ^ "Brazil: explosive recordings implicate President Michel Temer in bribery". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 May 2017. 
  48. ^ "Brazil president taped discussing pay-off for witness in graft probe: O Globo". Reuters. Retrieved 19 May 2017. 
  49. ^ "Brazil President Endorsed Businessman’s Bribes in Secret Tape, Newspaper Says". NYTimes. Retrieved 28 May 2017. 
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  61. ^ "Brazil's top prosecutor charges President Michel Temer with corruption". CNBC. 27 June 2017. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Luís Eduardo Magalhaes
President of the Chamber of Deputies
1997–2001
Succeeded by
Aécio Neves
Preceded by
Arlindo Chinaglia
President of the Chamber of Deputies
2009–2010
Succeeded by
Marco Maia
Preceded by
José Alencar
Vice President of Brazil
2011–2016
Acting President
2016
Vacant
Preceded by
Dilma Rousseff
President of Brazil
2016–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jader Barbalho
President of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party
2001–2016
Succeeded by
Romero Jucá