Franco, Itamar (Brazil)

Reference work entry


Itamar Franco was president of Brazil from 1992 until 1994. He took over as provisional president when Fernando Collor resigned. He was unsuccessful in his efforts to revive the ailing economy.

Early Life

Born 28 July 1931, Itamar Augusto Cautiero Franco had early contact with politics in his home town of Juiz de Fora in the state of Minas Gerais. He was elected mayor in 1966 and 1972. He was senator for Minas Gerais from 1974–90. A founding member of the Brazilian Democratic Movement, he was appointed vice president in 1990.

Career Peak

Franco became acting president on 2 Oct. 1992 when Collor resigned in the face of impeachment charges. Franco and was sworn in as president on Dec. 29. An opponent of sweeping market reform, he soon clashed with the IMF and an early package of tax reforms were suspended when the Supreme Court questioned their constitutional validity. The hoped-for economic up-turn failed to materialize and inflation leapt towards 3,000%. Franco’s apparent aloofness caused friction with other Latin American leaders and relations with the US were also delicate.

In Oct. 1993, when his approval rating had dropped below 15%, he offered his resignation if Congress would schedule early elections. After political manoeuvring among opposition parties, his resignation was declined. His fourth finance minister, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, was responsible for a successful economic plan which introduced a new currency and economic reforms. Buoyed by his popularity, Cardoso stood in the 1994 presidential election when Franco stepped down.

Later Life

After his spell as president Franco served as ambassador to Portugal and Brazil’s representative to the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C. until 1998. He was governor of his home state of Minas Gerais from 1998–2003. Franco died on 2 July 2011. He was serving as a senator for Minas Gerais at the time of his death.

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