Could Maia Be the Next Brazilian President?

MICHAEL FOX: Brazilian President, Rodrigo Maia. Kind of rolls off the tongue, right? No, no, not really. He’s the head of Brazil’s lower house and he’s the next in line for the presidency if Congress decides to impeach current President, Michel Temer. They’ll get their chance in the coming days as Michel Temer has won the illustrious title of being the first sitting President to be under indictment for corruption. Now, follow me here. This gets a little complicated. Remember, Michel Temer came to power last year after leftist President, Dilma Rousseff was impeached by Congress. Temer was her more conservative Vice President from the PMDB party. At the time, the head of the lower house was Eduardo Cunha, everybody’s favorite real-life Frank Underwood who led the impeachment proceedings against Dilma Rousseff.

Now, Cunha, who had offshore accounts and dirt on nearly everyone, went down in a blaze of glory last year and is now serving time in a federal penitentiary for his role in the Lava Jato bribery scam and that opened the door for Rodrigo Maia to be voted by Congress to take over as President of the lower house in July of last year. Did you follow that? It kind of looks like this, or this. Who is he? Who’s the next in line to be President of the fifth largest country in the world? He’s a five-term congressional lawmaker from Rio de Janeiro and the privileged son of the veteran conservative politician, Cesar Maia, who ran the city of Rio de Janeiro from the 1990s into the early 2000s. Ran it, that is, for the elites. Now, that may give Rodrigo some street cred with the right people and many of those people are in Congress, but it seems that may be all he has.

TALITA TANSCHEIT: Rodrigo Maia is not a good politician. I mean, his father is much better than him, I believe. I think that he’s so bad, so bad. He doesn’t know how to do politics. I look at him and I’m really nervous when I look at him, because he doesn’t know how to do politics.

MICHAEL FOX: Well, I mean, he had to do something right to be elected President of Brazil’s lower house, right? Or maybe he was just the most likely candidate to continue the austerity reforms of the Temer government come hell or high water. If Temer’s pushed out in the coming months, what can we expect from a Rodrigo Maia presidency? More of the same, it seems.

TALITA TANSCHEIT: It doesn’t really change, because you maintain the same political [really 00:02:39] and [inaudible 00:02:42] welfare. Keep with the reforms that Temer are doing. I think it’s a fight that the right-wing political elite is having now, like who will run the country?