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Itamar Augusto Cautiero Franco (; 28 June 19302 July 2011) was a Brazilian politician who served as the 33rd
president of Brazil The president of Brazil ( pt, Presidente do Brasil), officially the president of the Federative Republic of Brazil ( pt, Presidente da República Federativa do Brasil) or simply the ''President of the Republic'', is both the head of state ...
from 29 December 1992 to 31 December 1994. Previously he was the 21st
vice president of Brazil The vice president of Brazil ( pt, Vice-Presidente do Brasil), officially the vice president of the Federative Republic of Brazil (''Vice-Presidente da República Federativa do Brasil''), or simply the ''Vice President of the Republic'' (''Vice-P ...
from 1990 until the resignation of President
Fernando Collor de Mello Fernando Affonso Collor de Mello (; born 12 August 1949) is a Brazilian politician who served as the 32nd president of Brazil from 1990 to 1992, when he resigned in a failed attempt to stop his impeachment trial by the Brazilian Senate. Collor ...
. During his long political career Franco also served as
Senator A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislature. The name comes from the Ancient Rome, ancient Roman Senate (Latin: ''Senatus''), so-called as an assembly of the senior (Lat ...
, Mayor, Ambassador and Governor. At the time of his death he was a senator from
Minas Gerais Minas Gerais () is a state in Southeastern Brazil. It ranks as the second most populous, the third by Gross Domestic Product, gross domestic product (GDP), and the fourth largest by area in the country. The state's capital and largest city, Belo ...

Minas Gerais
, having won the seat in the 2010 election.


Early life and family background

Franco was born prematurely at sea, aboard a ship traveling between
Salvador Salvador, meaning "salvation" (or "saviour") in Catalan, Spanish, and Portuguese may refer to: * Salvador (name) Arts, entertainment, and media Music *Salvador (band), a Christian band that plays both English and Spanish music **Salvador (Salvado ...
and
Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro (; ), or simply Rio, is the List of largest cities in Brazil, second-most populous city in Brazil and the Largest cities in the Americas, sixth-most populous in the Americas. Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the Rio de Janeiro (s ...

Rio de Janeiro
, being registered in Salvador. On his father's side he was of partial German descent (the Stiebler family from
Minas Gerais Minas Gerais () is a state in Southeastern Brazil. It ranks as the second most populous, the third by Gross Domestic Product, gross domestic product (GDP), and the fourth largest by area in the country. The state's capital and largest city, Belo ...

Minas Gerais
), while on the mother's side he was of Italian descent, with both of his maternal grandparents having emigrated to Brazil from Italy. His mother's name was "Itália", which means "Italy" in Portuguese. Franco's father died before his birth. His family was from
Juiz de Fora Juiz de Fora (, '' Outsider Judge''), also known as J.F., is a city in the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais Minas Gerais () is a state in Southeastern Brazil. It ranks as the second most populous, the third by Gross Domestic P ...

Juiz de Fora
, Minas Gerais, where he grew up and became a civil engineer in 1955, graduating from the
School of Engineering of Juiz de Fora The School of Engineering of Juiz de Fora ( pt, Escola de Engenharia de Juiz de Fora) was an engineering college in the city of Juiz de Fora, Brazil. It is now the engineering faculty of the Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF). The former pr ...
.


Career


Before Vice Presidency

Entering politics in the mid-1950s, Franco first served as alderman and deputy mayor of Juiz de Fora, before getting elected as mayor (1967 to 1971 and again from 1973 to 1974). He resigned as mayor in 1974 and ran successfully for the Federal Senate, representing Minas Gerais. He soon became a senior figure in the
Brazilian Democratic Movement The Brazilian Democratic Movement ( pt, Movimento Democrático Brasileiro, MDB) is a Brazilian centrist Centrism is a political outlook or position that involves acceptance and/or support of a balance of social equality and a degree of soci ...
(Movimento Democrático Brasileiro, MDB) the official opposition to the military regime that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985. He served as deputy leader in 1976 and 1977. Re-elected as a senator in 1982, he was defeated in an attempt to be elected governor of Minas Gerais in 1986 as a candidate of the Liberal Party (PL). During his tenure he was one of the key figures of (then failed) initiative to immediate restoration of the direct elections for president. During his Senate term, Franco served as PL leader in that chamber. As a member of the National Constituent Assembly which began on 1 February 1987, Franco voted for severance of relations between Brazil and countries that develop a policy of
racial discrimination Racial discrimination is any discrimination Discrimination is the act of making unjustified distinctions between people based on the groups, classes, or other categories to which they belong or are perceived to belong. People may be discrim ...
(as was then the case of South Africa), the establishment of the writ of mandamus Collective; 50% more pay for overtime after a forty-hour work-week, the legalization of abortion, the continuous shift of six hours of notice proportional to length of service, the union unity, popular sovereignty, the nationalization of subsoil, the nationalization of the financial system of a limiting the payment of external debt burden and creating a fund to support land reform. Meanwhile, he voted against propositions to reintroduce the death penalty, confirming the
presidential system A presidential system, or single executive system, is a form of government in which a head of government (President (government title), president) leads an Executive (government), executive branch that is separate from the legislative branch in s ...
and extension of President José Sarney's term, whom he opposed and called for removal for an alleged corruption. When Franco became president, Sarney became one of his allies.


Vice Presidency (1990–1992)

In 1989, Franco left PL and joined the small PRN (National Reconstruction Party) to be selected the running-mate of the presidential candidate
Fernando Collor de Mello Fernando Affonso Collor de Mello (; born 12 August 1949) is a Brazilian politician who served as the 32nd president of Brazil from 1990 to 1992, when he resigned in a failed attempt to stop his impeachment trial by the Brazilian Senate. Collor ...
. A main reason behind Franco's selection was that he represented one of the largest states (in contrast to Collor, who was from small state of
Alagoas Alagoas (, ) is one of the 27 states of Brazil and is situated in the eastern part of the Northeast Region, Brazil, Northeast Region. It borders: Pernambuco (N and NW); Sergipe (S); Bahia (SW); and the Atlantic Ocean (E). Its capital is the city ...

Alagoas
), and publicity he gained during his call for impeachment against President José Sarney for alleged corruption. Collor and Franco won a very narrow election against a man who would later become President (2003–2010),
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (; born Luiz Inácio da Silva; 27 October 1945) is a Brazilian politician and former union leader who served as the 35th president of Brazil The president of Brazil ( pt, Presidente do Brasil), officially the pr ...

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
. Once in office, Franco broke with Collor, threatening a resignation several times, as he disagreed with some of the President's policies, especially regarding
privatization Privatization (or privatisation in British English) can mean several different things, most commonly referring to moving something from the public sector into the private sector. It is also sometimes used as a synonym for deregulation when a heav ...
, voicing his opposition openly.Brazil – Franco's Presidency, 1992 – 94
/ref> On Tuesday, 29 September 1992, Collor was charged with corruption and was
impeached Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) ...
by the Congress. Under the Brazilian Constitution, an impeached president's powers are suspended for 180 days. As such, Franco became acting president on 2 October 1992. Collor resigned on 29 December when it was apparent that the Senate would convict and remove him, at which point Franco formally took office as president. When he became acting president, despite having been vice president for nearly three years, polls showed that the majority of the population did not know who he was.


Presidency (1992–1994)


Domestic policy and presidential style

Franco took power as Brazil was in the midst of a severe economic crisis, with inflation reaching 1,110% in 1992 and rocketing to almost 2,400% in 1993. Franco developed a reputation as a
mercurial Mercurial is a distributed revision control tool for software developers. It is supported on Microsoft Windows and Unix-like systems, such as FreeBSD, macOS, and Linux. Mercurial's major design goals include high performance and scalability, d ...
leader, but he selected as his Finance Minister
Fernando Henrique Cardoso Fernando Henrique Cardoso (; born 18 June 1931), also known by his initials FHC (), is a Brazilian sociologist, professor and politician who served as the 34th President of Brazil from 1 January 1995 to 1 January 2003. He was the first Brazili ...
, who launched the "
Plano Real The Plano Real ("Brazilian real, Real Plan",The word ''real'' in Portuguese could be translated either to ''real'' or ''royal'' in English. The name of the plan comes from the name of the currency which was chosen to give the idea of a stable an ...
" that stabilized the economy and ended inflation. In an unusual gesture, moments before taking office, Franco handed senators a piece of paper on which he had listed his personal net worth and properties. Initially, his approval rating reached 60 percent. After the troubled Collor Presidency, Franco quickly installed a politically balanced cabinet and sought broad support in Congress. During his presidency, in April 1993, Brazil held a long-announced referendum to determine the political system (remaining a Republic or restoration of the
Monarchy A monarchy is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a ...
) and the form of government (presidential or parliamentary system). The Republican and presidential system prevailed by large majorities respectively. Franco always preferred the parliamentary government. In 1993, Franco resisted calls from various military and civilian offices to shut down the Congress (described by some sources as a "coup attempt"). His administration is credited for restoring integrity and stability in government, particularly after the troubled Collor presidency. The President himself kept his reputation of honesty, and his personal style was viewed as very different from Collor's, who practiced "an imperial and ceremonious presidential role". On the other hand, Franco's own personal behavior was sometimes described as temperamental and eccentric. In late 1993, Franco offered a resignation in order to call an earlier election, but Congress turned it down. At the end of term, Franco's job approval rating soared to nearly 80–90 percent.Brazil's Ex-President Accomplished Much, Wednesday, May 31, 1995
/ref> Until May 2016, Franco remained the last President of Brazil not to have been elected as such.


Foreign policy

Despite being sometimes described as a "man with limited diplomatic skills", Franco is credited with launching of idea of a free trade zone covering the whole of South America, which was praised by such leaders as U.S. President
Bill Clinton William Jefferson Clinton ('' né'' Blythe III; born August 19, 1946) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 42nd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and ...

Bill Clinton
. Also during his Government, Brazil ratified important pacts (for example the Tlatelolco Treaty and a quadripartite agreement also involving Argentina and the International Atomic Energy Agency on full-scope safeguards), which set Brazil on the nonproliferation path.


Post-presidency

Franco was barred from running for a full term in 1994. Whenever a Brazilian vice president serves part of a president's term, it counts as a full term, and at the time Brazilian presidents were barred from immediate reelection. Fernando Henrique Cardoso became the official (sometimes described as Franco's hand-picked) candidate to succeed Franco and was elected president in late 1994. Franco, however, soon became a severe critic of Cardoso's government and disagreed with the privatization program. Thereafter, he served as the ambassador to Portugal in Lisbon and then as ambassador to the Organization of American States in Washington, DC, until 1998. Franco considered a presidential run in 1998, but ultimately backed off after constitution changes allowed Cardoso to run again. However, he was elected governor of Minas Gerais in 1998 against the Cardoso-supported incumbent in a landslide, and as soon as he took office, he enacted a moratorium on state debt payments, worsening the national economic crisis. Itamar Franco served in the governor's seat until 2003 (declining to seek reelection and supporting the eventual winning candidate Aécio Neves) and was then the ambassador to Italy, until leaving the position in 2005. During the 2002 presidential election, Franco endorsed
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (; born Luiz Inácio da Silva; 27 October 1945) is a Brazilian politician and former union leader who served as the 35th president of Brazil The president of Brazil ( pt, Presidente do Brasil), officially the pr ...

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
, who got elected, even if he, again, declined to run himself. Having unsuccessfully sought, at age 76, the PMDB presidential nomination in 2006 Brazilian general election, 2006, he backed Geraldo Alckmin against Lula, despite having been considered again, despite his advanced age, as a candidate for 2010 Brazilian general election, President in 2010. Franco ran instead for to be a
Senator A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislature. The name comes from the Ancient Rome, ancient Roman Senate (Latin: ''Senatus''), so-called as an assembly of the senior (Lat ...
from Minas, and won the race along with Neves.


Personal life

Franco was divorced in 1971 and had two daughters.A Squall At Carnival, JAMES BROOKE, Sunday, February 27, 1994
/ref> Before and during his presidency, he had a reputation as a ladies' man, and his personal life was a subject of huge public interest. He authored some 19 published works, ranging from discussions on nuclear energy to short stories.


Death

Having been diagnosed with leukemia, Franco was admitted to the Albert Einstein Hospital, in São Paulo, on 21 May 2011. On 28 June, his 81st birthday, his condition worsened and he developed severe pneumonia, being taken to ICU and placed under mechanical ventilation. He died in the morning of Saturday, 2 July 2011, after suffering a stroke.Morre o senador e ex-presidente Itamar Franco aos 81 anos, Saturday, July 2, 2011
/ref>
/ref> Seven days of mourning were declared by President Dilma Rousseff. After lying in state in the town of
Juiz de Fora Juiz de Fora (, '' Outsider Judge''), also known as J.F., is a city in the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais Minas Gerais () is a state in Southeastern Brazil. It ranks as the second most populous, the third by Gross Domestic P ...

Juiz de Fora
, his political base, and in Belo Horizonte, the capital of
Minas Gerais Minas Gerais () is a state in Southeastern Brazil. It ranks as the second most populous, the third by Gross Domestic Product, gross domestic product (GDP), and the fourth largest by area in the country. The state's capital and largest city, Belo ...

Minas Gerais
, his body was cremated on Monday, 4 July 2011, in Contagem, in the metropolitan area of that city.


References


External links


Biography from presidential website
, - , - , - , - , - , - {{DEFAULTSORT:Franco, Itamar 1930 births 2011 deaths People born at sea Presidents of Brazil Vice presidents of Brazil Brazilian people of Italian descent Governors of Minas Gerais Recipients of the Great Cross of the National Order of Scientific Merit (Brazil) Permanent Representatives of Brazil to the Organization of American States Ambassadors of Brazil to Portugal Ambassadors of Brazil to Italy Brazilian people of German descent Brazilian Labour Party (historical) politicians Brazilian Democratic Movement politicians Liberal Party (Brazil, 1985) politicians Christian Labour Party politicians Cidadania politicians Mayors of places in Brazil 20th-century Roman Catholics 21st-century Roman Catholics Deaths from leukemia