Itamar Franco was born on the sea in a trip from Salvador to Rio de Janeiro. His family was from Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais state, where he grew up and became a civil engineer in 1955, graduating from the School of Engineering of Juiz de Fora. Franco was mayor of this city from 1967 to 1971 and again from 1973 to 1974. He resigned as mayor in 1974 and run successfully for the Federal Senate as a representative of Minas Gerais. He soon became a senior figure in MDB (Movimento Democrático Brasileiro - Brazilian Democratic Movement), the official opposition to the military regime that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985. 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 Liberal Party (PL).
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. Collor won and Franco became vice-president. In 1992, Collor was charged with corruption and was impeached by the Congress. Franco was acting president from September 1992 until Collor's impeachment in December of that year, at which point he formally took office as president.
Franco took power as Brazil was in the midst of a severe economic crisis, with inflation reaching 1,100% in 1992 and rocketing to almost 6,000% in 1993. Franco developed a reputation as an inept and mercurial leader, often changing economic ministers until he selected Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who launched the "Plano Real" that stabilized the economy and ended inflation. Cardoso became the official candidate to succeed Franco and was elected President in late 1994. Franco, however, soon become a severe critic of Cardoso's government and disagreed with the privatization program. He was elected governor of Minas Gerais in 1998 and as soon as he took office, he enacted a moratorium on state debt payments, worsening the national economic crisis. Itamar Franco served until 2003 and since then has been the ambassador of Brazil in Italy.
Fernando Collor de Mello
|President of Brazil||Succeeded by:|
Fernando Henrique Cardoso