José Sarney Costa

(b. 1930)

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(b. 1930).

Brazilian President 1985–90 Sarney entered politics as a federal deputy, becoming Governor of Maranhão (in 1965) and a member of the Senate. In 1985, when the military returned power to democratic government, he became the running-mate of Tancredo Neves, who was elected President. However, Neves died before taking office, so that ironically Sarney, a protégé of the military regime, became Brazil's first guarantor of democratic government after twenty-one years of military rule. Unable to tackle his country's crippling economic, financial, and social problems, he made them worse through his indecisiveness. Inflation soared from 227 per cent in 1985 to almost 1,500 per cent in 1990, while GDP per capita remained stationary overall. He was unable to renegotiate the country's enormous foreign debt, which was the highest in the developing world. Finally, he failed in his attempt to carry out a reform of labour representation to destroy its neo-corporatist structures and make the labour market more dynamic and flexible.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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