In four days, Brazil President Michel Temer will step down after two years and four months as head of state. He took power in May 2016, after the controversial impeachment of his predecessor Dilma Rousseff. Now, he is preparing to hand the baton to president-elect Jair Bolsonaro.
Mr. Temer’s term in office will be remembered for a few things. His sweeping austerity measures, including reforming Brazil’s labor laws and imposing a 20-year federal spending cap, will have long-lasting effects on the country. He failed, however, to reform Brazil’s expensive pension system—which he had promised to do upon taking office.
His strength as head of state, however, was extremely weakened by the numerous corruption allegations brought against him and his hilariously poor approval ratings. Last year, Mr. Temer became the only president to face an indictment request while still in office, using his political capital to dodge two lower house votes on whether or not he should be suspended from office and prosecuted by the Supreme Court. After that, he became the textbook definition of a lame-duck president.
Using official data, we have compiled a series of charts to help visualize precisely how Michel Temer’s government performed, across a variety of criteria. In broad terms, Mr. Temer is the president who oversaw the end of Brazil’s harshest recession on record, but also the desperately slow recovery that followed.
The objective of this piece is to show how Michel Temer stacks up compared to his predecessors. Was he as bad as Brazilians think? Or did he push for necessary, albeit unpopular measures that Brazil needed after years of economic mismanagement? Perhaps the fairest answer is something between the two. We will leave the evaluation to you.
*for data on unemployment, we chose to narrow the chart down to unemployment rates in São Paulo’s metropolitan area, as the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics changed its methodology to calculate national rates. By doing so, we make sure that all presidents depicted in the charts (Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Dilma Rousseff, and Michel Temer) are measured according to the same criteria.