Conserving Brazil’s high job isn’t a simple job in a rustic the place two presidents have been impeached up to now three many years and a number of the strongest names in enterprise and politics are at present behind bars.
But Michel Temer, the person who ascended to Brazil’s presidency unexpectedly final yr, appears to have a particular expertise for it.
On Wednesday, he managed to get greater than the 172 votes he wanted within the decrease home of Congress and cease a corruption investigation that will have compelled him to step down instantly for a minimum of six months.
And it’s not the primary time he has succeeded in convincing his fellow politicians to spare him. In August, he survived a similar vote.
Mr Temer is the primary president in Brazilian historical past to have fees introduced towards him whereas nonetheless holding the highest job.
And the allegations towards him are critical. He’s accused of being the top of a felony organisation and of making an attempt to hinder the course of justice.
Prosecutors say that again in 2006, when he was nonetheless a congressman, he created a bribery scheme which lasts to today.
His political group allegedly funnelled over 587m reais ($180m, £137m) from state-run establishments reminiscent of Petrobras and the Brazilian Lottery into the pockets of lawmakers.
He’s additionally accused of pressuring billionaire businessman Joesley Batista into shopping for the silence of two key witnesses which might be cooperating with investigators from jail.
Mr Temer has denied all of the allegations. He says he’s the sufferer of “coup plotters”, who he claims try to take away him from workplace.
Paradoxically, his predecessor in workplace, Dilma Rousseff, stated the identical about Mr Temer when she was dealing with allegations of illegally manipulating authorities accounts which ultimately led to her impeachment.
Prosecutors say they’ve a mountain of proof towards Mr Temer.
There’s video footage of a detailed aide of President Temer receiving luggage stuffed stuffed with tens of millions of reais in a restaurant in Sao Paulo.
And two key witnesses have described how the Brazilian president allegedly saved a number of the bribe cash for himself.
Prosecutors actually have a recording of Mr Temer listening to Joesley Batista brag about bribes the latter paid to judges and witnesses.
Ms Rousseff was impeached over a lot much less extreme allegations final yr. However Mr Temer is proving himself to be way more expert within the artwork of political survival.
For one factor, the financial system helps him. Whereas Ms Rousseff left workplace on the top of Brazil’s worst recession in historical past, the nation is now lastly displaying modest indicators of restoration.
It’s a reversal for which Mr Temer is claiming full credit score. Final week, he wrote a letter to lawmakers warning probe into his affairs would revert the financial restoration.
His authorities has additionally aggressively bargained with lawmakers, rising the finances by 12bn reais upon their suggestion.
He additionally introduced an easing of the anti-slavery legal guidelines and privatisation programmes which some lawmakers had opposed.
Carlos Melo says that Mr Temer isn’t utilizing authorized arguments to defend himself, however “pragmatically utilizing his pen and the Brazilian finances to win”.
The political scientist at Insper Enterprise Faculty calls this transfer “alarming, particularly at a time when Brazil’s finances issues are partly accountable for the nation’s financial recession”.
Mr Temer has additionally been skilful at profitable the hearts and minds of his fellow politicians.
His argument that he’s the goal of a witch hunt towards politicians has struck a chord together with his friends dealing with related allegations.
Fifty-nine p.c of the lawmakers who sided with President Temer within the vote in August on whether or not he ought to face trial are themselves below investigation.
Whereas Mr Temer stays remarkably sturdy within the corridors of energy in Brasilia, polls recommend he has the worst approval rankings in historical past.
So why are Brazilians not taking to the streets of their tens of millions like they did to protest towards Dilma Rousseff?
Mr Melo believes that Brazilian society at present is “disenchanted and demobilised”. “It appears they have been content material with merely eliminating Dilma,” the political scientists says.
Furthermore, most of the organisers behind the final yr’s protests towards Dilma Rousseff have been right-wing actions which again a few of Mr Temer’s financial reforms.
Teams reminiscent of Movimento Brasil Livre (Free Brazil Motion) and Vem Pra Rua (Come into the road), which campaigned towards corruption and helped carry down Ms Rousseff, are actually conspicuously absent from the streets.
There’s a sense amongst them that any demonstration towards Mr Temer might improve assist for the left-wing Employees’ Get together and its candidate in subsequent yr’s common election, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
They argue return to energy of the Employees’ Get together would additionally imply a return to their unorthodox financial insurance policies which many blame for Brazil’s financial collapse.
With Mr Temer once more profitable a reprieve from Congress, the president will proceed to push for his programme of financial reforms.
When he got here to energy 17 months in the past, Mr Temer promised to tug Brazil out of recession and into a brand new future.
He might but obtain that if the present modest financial restoration proves to be lasting.
However he’s additionally incomes himself a spot within the historical past books as a president who ruthlessly used each obtainable trick to keep away from trial simply as Brazil was stepping up its battle towards corruption.