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Five Things to Know About Brazil’s New President, Michel Temer

4 minute read

Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president, was thrown out of office by the country’s senate on Wednesday following after an impeachment trial that ended the leftist Workers’ Party 13 years in power.

She has been replaced by her former vice president and coalition partner Michel Temer of the centrist Democratic Movement party (PMDB).

Temer has been running Brazil since Rousseff’s suspension in May, and is set to continue as president until the next election in 2018. Here are five things we know about the 75-year-old:

1. He is “nearly the opposite” of Rousseff

Temer, who has been elected to Congress four times, is “nearly the opposite” of Rousseff in terms of his political views and experience, according to The Economist.

The magazine described him as a multitalented politician; a charming, elegant and conciliatory man who believes in a “blend of economic and social liberalism that is unusual in Brazil.” An example of this is his belief that abortion should be legal, which is at odds with the view of most of Brazil, which has some of the toughest abortion laws in the world.

Temer has a reputation for being a successful dealmaker and he has helped the PMDB form coalitions with every president in the past two decades.

This has led the BBC to describe Temer in the past as “always a kingmaker, but never king.”

2. But like Rousseff, he has been accused of corruption

Temer is not free from scandal; he’s currently being investigated for receiving an illicit $400,000 campaign donation in 2012 from the state oil company Petrobras.

This has implicated him in the country’s biggest ever corruption scandal, known as “Operation Car Wash,” which has led to the jailing of dozens of executives and politicians and contributed to Brazil’s worst recession in decades.

Sergio Machado, a former Petrobras executive who has been giving evidence to prosecutors as part of a plea bargain, said Temer asked him for illegal campaign contributions for a political ally. The President has denied doing this.

3. He is pretty unpopular in Brazil

A poll in April by Brazil’s Folha de S.Paulo newspaper found that 60% of respondents supported Rousseff’s ouster, and 58% wanted to get rid of Temer too, USA Today reports.

His unpopularity is partly to do with his implication in Operation Car Wash, but it hasn’t been helped by his controversial decision to create a cabinet made up solely of white men in a country where 53% of citizens are mixed race and 52% are female. It is Brazil’s first all-male cabinet since the end of the military dictatorship in 1985.

4. His wife is a 33-year-old former beauty queen

Temer’s wife of 13 years, Marcela Temer, is former Miss São Paulo and more than 40 years his junior.

She has been criticized by media outlets for her ‘Marie Antoinette’ spending during times of Brazil’s economic uncertainty, with MailOnline reporting that she has a nanny, a cook and two maids, as well as her mother and sister, to help her look after her only son, Michelzinho, who is seven.

Marcela has her husband’s name tattooed on the back of her neck, which was first spotted in 2011. She recently appeared on the cover of the conservative magazine Veja where she was described as “Bela, recatada e do lar” (Beautiful, demure and homely).

5. He is a keen poet, to the amusement of some Brazilians

Temer is the author of a book of poems, titled Anonymous Intimacy, as well as a textbook on constitutional law.

According to the New York Times, the president began writing poetry when he found himself jotting his thoughts on cocktail napkins in airport lounges when working as a lawmaker a few years ago. He has mused on the themes of letter-writing in the text-messaging era, lust and radicalism – the latter being a one line poem that simply read “No. Never again!”

Temer’s poetry has not been particularly well received in Brazil and there is even a Twitter account with over 33,000 followers that frequently mocks the president’s creative expressions.

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Write to Kate Samuelson at kate.samuelson@time.com