VINTAGE LEBANESE DIASPORA
Born in Tietê, São Paulo, Temer is the son of Nakhoul “Miguel” Elias Temer Lulia and March Barbar Lulia, Lebanese immigrants who came to Brazil in 1925. His parents, along with three older siblings, immigrated to Brazil from Btaaboura, a small village 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 is not fluent in Arabic, but is able to discern the topic of a conversation in that language.
As a child, Temer dreamed of becoming a pianist. However, there were no piano teachers in his city. As a teenager, he wanted to be a writer. 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 high school in the “curso clássico”, composed mainly of subjects in the humanities and languages.
In 1959, like his four older brothers he joined the Law School of the University of São Paulo, graduating in 1963. 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 was defeated by 82 votes.
Temer stayed neutral before the 1964 coup d’état. 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 (PUC-SP).
Michel Temer served as the 37th President of Brazil from 31 August 2016 to 31 December 2018. He took office after the impeachment and removal from office of his predecessor Dilma Rousseff. He had been Vice President since 2011 and Acting President since 12 May 2016, when Rousseff was suspended while she faced an impeachment trial. At the age of 75, he is the oldest person to have taken the office.
The Senate’s 61–20 vote, on 31 August 2016, to remove Rousseff from office meant that Temer succeeded her to serve out the remainder of Rousseff’s second term, ending 31 December 2018. In his first speech in office, Temer called for a government of “national salvation” and asked for the trust of the Brazilian people. He also signaled his intention to overhaul the pension system and labor laws, and to curb public spending.
Temer did not stand for President in the 2018 elections and was succeeded by Jair Bolsonaro on January 1, 2019.
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