List of Presidents of Brazil
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politics and government of
The old republic (1889–1930)
In 1889 the Empire of Brazil was abolished and replaced with a Republic in a coup d'état led by Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca, who deposed the Brazilian Emperor Dom Pedro II, proclaimed Brazil a Republic and formed a Provisional Government. With the abolition of the Monarchy, the then Prime Minister, the Viscount of Ouro Preto, was also removed from office, and the position of Prime Minister itself ceased to exist. As Head of the Provisional Government, Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca ruled by decree, discharging both the functions of Head of State and of Head of Government. The former Provinces of the Empire were reorganized as States, and the newly proclaimed Republic was declared a Federation, formed by the perpetual union of those States.
In 1890, elections for a Constituent Congress were summoned and held, but the decree of the Provisional Government that created the Congress required it to adopt a Constitution that conformed to the recently proclaimed republican system of Government, and that organized the recently declared Federal State. In February 1891, a Constitution was adopted, based on the federal republic of the United States of America. The country itself was named the Republic of the United States of Brazil. In accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, the presidents of the Republic were to be elected by direct popular ballot, but, for the first presidential term, the president and vice-president would be chosen by the Constituent Congress; the Constituent Congress was to elect the first president and vice-president immediately after the promulgation of the Constitution. In accordance with those transitional provisions, Congress elected the then Head of the Provisional Government, Deodoro da Fonseca, as the first president of the Republic. The runner up in the election for President, Marshal Floriano Peixoto, was elected by Congress to be the first Vice-President. The inauguration of the first President and of the first Vice-President was held on 26 February 1891, only two days after the promulgation of the Constitution. Deodoro resigned the presidency ten months later after a coup d'état in which he dissolved Congress was reversed. Then, Floriano Peixoto, Deodoro's vice-president, was inaugurated. In 1894, Peixoto was succeeded by Prudente de Morais, the first president of Brazil to be elected by direct popular ballot. De Morais, who was the first president to be elected under the permanent provisions of the Constitution adopted in 1891, was also the first civilian to hold the office of president.
Although it was theoretically a constitutional democracy, the Old Republic was characterized by the power of regional oligarchies and the seldom broken alternation of power in the federal sphere between the states of São Paulo and Minas Gerais. The vote in the countryside was often controlled by the local land owner, and less than 6% of the population had the right to vote due to literacy requirements.
In 1930, when Brazil was suffering the effects of the Wall Street Crash of 1929, a revolution broke out in the country and the old republic ended. President Washington Luís, who was supported by São Paulo oligarchies, broke the rule of alternation between São Paulo and Minas and supported a candidate who was also from São Paulo, Júlio Prestes. Prestes won the rigged election, but Washington Luís was deposed three weeks before the end of his term and Prestes was never inaugurated.
|#||President||Picture||Elected||Took office||Left office||Political Party||Vice President(s)||Previous Office|
|1||Deodoro da Fonseca
|1891||(Head of the Provisional Government
since 15 November 1889)
26 February 1891
|23 November 1891||None (military)||Floriano Peixoto||President of São Pedro do Rio Grande Province|
|—||23 November 1891||15 November 1894||None (military)||vacant||Vice President|
|3||Prudente de Morais
|1894||15 November 1894||15 November 1898||Federal Republican Party (PR Fed)||Manuel Vitorino
|President of the Brazilian Senate, Senator from São Paulo|
|1898||15 November 1898||15 November 1902||São Paulo Republican Party (PRP)||Rosa e Silva||Governor of São Paulo|
|1902||15 November 1902||15 November 1906||São Paulo Republican Party (PRP)||Silviano Brandão
|Governor of São Paulo|
|1906||15 November 1906||14 June 1909||Mineiro Republican Party (PRM)||Nilo Peçanha
|—||14 June 1909||15 November 1910||Rio Republican Party (PRF)||vacant||Vice President|
|8||Hermes da Fonseca
|1910||15 November 1910||15 November 1914||Conservative Republican Party (PRC)
|Minister of the Superior Military Court|
|1914||15 November 1914||15 November 1918||Mineiro Republican Party (PRM)||Urbano Santos||Vice President|
|1918||Never took office.||São Paulo Republican Party (PRP)||Delfim Moreira
|Senator from São Paulo|
|—||(Acting president from 15 November 1918)
16 January 1919
|28 July 1919||Mineiro Republican Party (PRM)||vacant||Governor of Minas Gerais|
|1919||28 July 1919||15 November 1922||Mineiro Republican Party (PRM)||Delfim Moreira
|Senator from Paraíba|
|Bueno de Paiva
|1922||15 November 1922||15 November 1926||Mineiro Republican Party (PRM)||Estacio Coimbra||Governor of Minas Gerais|
|1926||15 November 1926||24 October 1930||São Paulo Republican Party (PRP)||Melo Viana
|Senator from São Paulo|
|1930||Never took office.||São Paulo Republican Party (PRP)||Vital Soares||Governor of São Paulo|
Vargas era (1930–1946)
- Parties freedom deeply suppressed
|#||President||Picture||Took office||Left office||Political Party||Vice President(s)||Previous Office|
|–||1) Augusto Fragoso
2) Isaías de Noronha
3) Mena Barreto
|24 October 1930||3 November 1930||None (provisional military junta)||vacant||1) General of the Brazilian Army
2) Admiral of the Brazilian Navy
3) Divisional General of the Brazilian Army
|(Head of the Provisional Government since
3 November 1930)
20 July 1934
|29 October 1945||Liberal Alliance (AL)||vacant||Governor of Rio Grande do Sul|
|29 October 1945||31 January 1946||None||vacant||President of the Supreme Federal Court|
The second republic (1946–1964)
In 1945, Vargas was deposed by a military coup led by two ex-supporters. Nevertheless, he would be elected president once again and his influence in Brazilian politics would remain until the end of the second republic. In this period, three parties dominated the national politics. Two were pro-Vargas – in the left, PTB and in the center-right, PSD – and another anti-Vargas, the rightist UDN.
This period was very unstable. In 1954, Vargas committed suicide during a crisis that threatened his government and he was followed by a series of short-term presidents. In 1961, UDN won national elections for the first time, supporting Jânio Quadros, who himself was a member of a minor party allied to UDN. Quadros, who, before his election, rose meteorically in politics with an anti-corruption stance, unexpectedly resigned the presidency seven months later. Some historians suggest that Quadros was heavily drunk when he signed his resignation letter, while others suggest that Quadros felt that Congress would not accept his vice-president as president, and would ask for his return. Those historians, therefore, see Quadros' resignation as an attempt to return to office with increased powers and more political support. It is possible that both occurred: Quadros was drunk when he resigned, and in that state, he devised the plan to return to power by Congressional request. The plot failed: Congress simply received Quadros' letter, and amid the shock of politicians and of the Nation, the letter was entered into the records of Congress and the presidency was declared vacant. The president of Congress, Senator Auro de Moura Andrade, took the view that the deed of resignation was the province of the elected president, that it was not subject to a congressional vote, needing no confirmation, and that the president's declaration of resignation was final.
In that time, the president and the vice-president were voted separately. The vice-president was a political enemy of Jânio Quadros, the leftist João Goulart. Goulart was out of the country, and Congress was controlled by right wing politicians. During Goulart's absence, the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Ranieri Mazzilli, took office as acting president. There was then a plot to block the inauguration of the vice-president as president, but Congressional resistance to the inauguration of Goulart led to a reaction by the Governor of Rio Grande do Sul, who led a "legality campaign", and to a split in the military (that, during the second Republic, intervened heavily in politics). Amid the political crisis, the solution was the adoption by Congress of a Constitutional Amendment abolishing the presidential Executive and replacing it with a parliamentary system of Government. Under that negotiated solution, Goulart's inauguration was allowed to proceed, but Goulart would be Head of State only, and a prime minister approved by Congress would lead the government. The new system of government's continued existence was subject to popular approval in a referendum scheduled for 1963. The result of this referendum restored the presidential Executive and a military coup deposed Goulart in 1964, starting the military dictatorship.
|#||President||Picture||Elected||Took office||Left office||Political Party||Vice President(s)||Previous Office|
|1945||31 January 1946||31 January 1951||Social Democratic Party (PSD)
|Minister of War|
|1950||31 January 1951||24 August 1954||Brazilian Labour Party (PTB)||Café Filho
|Senator from Rio Grande do Sul|
|18||João Café Filho
|—||(Acting President since 24 August 1954)
3 September 1954
|(under leave of absence from 9 November 1955)
31 January 1956
|Social Progressive Party (PSP)||vacant||Vice President|
for Café Filho)
|—||9 November 1955||11 November 1955||Social Democratic Party (PSD)||vacant||President of the Chamber of Deputies, Federal Deputy from Minas Gerais|
for Café Filho)
|—||11 November 1955||31 January 1956||Social Democratic Party (PSD)||vacant||President of the Brazilian Senate, Senator from Santa Catarina|
|1955||31 January 1956||31 January 1961||Social Democratic Party (PSD)||João Goulart
|Governor of Minas Gerais|
|1960||31 January 1961||25 August 1961||National Labour Party (PTN)||Governor of São Paulo|
|—||25 August 1961||7 September 1961||Social Democratic Party (PSD)||vacant||President of the Chamber of Deputies, Federal Deputy from São Paulo|
|—||7 September 1961||1 April 1964||Brazilian Labour Party (PTB)||vacant||Vice President|
The military regime (1964–1985)
Social Democratic Party (abolished 1965)
- Parties abolished, except for
|#||President||Picture||Took office||Left office||Political Party||Vice President(s)||Previous Office|
|1 April 1964||15 April 1964||Social Democratic Party (PSD)||vacant||President of the Chamber of Deputies, Federal Deputy from São Paulo|
|26||Humberto Castelo Branco
|15 April 1964||15 March 1967||National Renewal Alliance Party (ARENA)
|José Maria Alkmin
(PSD • ARENA)
|Marshal of the Brazilian Army|
|27||Artur da Costa e Silva
|15 March 1967||31 August 1969 (suspended due to ill health)
14 October 1969 (removed)
|National Renewal Alliance Party (ARENA)
|Minister of War|
|–||1) Augusto Rademaker
2) Aurélio Lira Tavares
3) Márcio Melo
|31 August 1969||30 October 1969||None
|vacant||1) Minister of the Brazilian Navy
2) Minister of the Brazilian Army
3) Minister of the Brazilian Air Force
|30 October 1969||15 March 1974||National Renewal Alliance Party (ARENA)
|Commander of the Brazilian 3rd Army|
|15 March 1974||15 March 1979||National Renewal Alliance Party (ARENA)
|Adalberto Pereira dos Santos
|President of Petrobras|
|15 March 1979||15 March 1985||Democratic Social Party (PDS)
(Democratic Social Party (PDS)
|Head of the SNI|
The new republic (1985–present)
In the early 1980s the military government started a process of gradual political opening, called abertura, the final goal of which was democracy. When the term of the last military president was to end, however, no direct elections for president took place. For the election of the country's first civilian president since the military coup of 1964, the military maintained the rule that prevailed during the dictatorial regime, according to which an Electoral College made up of the entire National Congress and representatives from State Assemblies was to elect the president. This time, however, the Military placed the Electoral College under no coercion, so that its members would be free to select the president of their choice.
The Chamber of Deputies and the State Assemblies had been elected, already under the abertura process in the 1982 parliamentary election, but the Senators were chosen indirectly, by the State Assemblies, under rules that had been passed by the Military Regime in 1977 to counter the growing support of the opposition: one third of the Senators was chosen in 1982, and two thirds had been chosen in 1978. After the 1982 elections, the ruling party, PDS (the successor of the ARENA), still controlled a majority of the seats in the National Congress.
Tancredo Neves, who had been prime-minister during the presidency of João Goulart, was chosen to be the candidate of PMDB, the major opposition party (and the successor of the MDB Party, that had opposed the Military Regime since its inception), but Tancredo was also supported by a large political spectrum, even including a significant part of former members of ARENA, the party that supported the military presidents. In the last months of the military regime, a large section of ARENA members defected from the Party, and now professed to be men of democratic inclinations. They formed the Liberal Front, and the Liberal Front Party allied itself to PMDB, forming a coalition known as the Democratic Alliance. PMDB needed the Liberal Front's support in order to secure victory in the Electoral College. In the formation of this broad coalition former members of ARENA also switched parties and joined PMDB. So, to seal this arrangement, the spot of vice-president in Tancredo Neves' ticket was given to José Sarney, who represented the former supporters of the regime that had now joined the Democratic Alliance.
On the other hand, those who remained loyal to the military regime and its legacy renamed ARENA as the PDS. In the PDS's National Convention, two right-wing supporters of the military administrations fought for the Party's nomination: Colonel Mário Andreazza, then Minister of the Interior in General Figueiredo's administration, was the preferred candidate of the incumbent President and of the military elite, but he was defeated by Paulo Maluf, a civilian and former Governor of São Paulo State during the military regime. Tancredo's coalition defeated Maluf, and his election was hailed as the dawn of a New Republic. Andreazza's defeat (by 493 votes to 350) and the selection of Maluf as the PDS's presidential canditate greatly contributed to the split in the Party that led to the formation of the Liberal Front. The Liberal Front refused to support Maluf and joined forces with the PMDB in supporting Tancredo Neves, thus forging the Democratic Alliance. Without that split in the PDS, the election of the opposition candidate would not have been possible.
Although elected president, Tancredo Neves became gravely ill on the eve of his inauguration and died without ever taking office. Therefore, the first civilian president since 1964 was Tancredo's running mate, José Sarney, himself an ex-member of ARENA. José Saynery's administration fulfilled Tancredo's campaign promise of passing a constitutional amendment to the Constitution inherited from the military regime, so as to summon elections for a National Constituent Assembly with full powers to draft and adopt a new Constitution for the country, to replace the authoritarian legislation that still remained in place. In October 1988, a new democratic Constitution was passed, and democracy was consolidated.
In 1989, the first elections for president under the new Constitution were held and the young Fernando Collor was elected for a five-year term - the first president to be elected by direct popular ballot since the military coup. He was inaugurated in 1990 and in 1992 he became the first president in Brazil to be impeached due to corruption. A Constitutional Amendment passed in 1993 reduced the presidential term of office from five to four years.
In 1995, Fernando Henrique Cardoso was inaugurated for a four-year term. In 1997 a Constitutional Amendment was passed allowing presidents of Brazil to be reelected to one consecutive term. In 1998, then President Fernando Henrique Cardoso became first president of Brazil to be reelected for an immediately consecutive term. In 2003 Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was inaugurated. He was reelected in 2006. In 2011 Dilma Rousseff became Brazil's first woman president.
- President of Brazil
- List of Brazilian monarchs
- Prime Minister of Brazil
- List of Presidents of Brazil by longevity
- List of First Ladies of Brazil
- History of Brazil
- List of Brazilians
- In a military coup d'état on 15 November 1889, Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca overthrew the Government of the Empire of Brazil, led by Prime Minister The Viscount of Ouro Preto. The coup d'état quickly escalated to the Proclamation of the Republic on that same date; thus, Emperor Pedro II of Brazil was deposed and the Monarchy abolished. The Constitution then in force ceased to operate, and the Empire of Brazil, a unitary state, was replaced with a Federal Republic, each province of the Empire becoming a state. Until the organization of the republic's constitutional order, however, the central Government appointed the Govenrnments of the sevaral States. The imperial Pariliament (the General Assembly) was dissolved, and Deodoro formed a Provisional Govenrment, that discharged by decree absolute Legislative and Executive powers. In 1890 elections for a Constitiuent Congress were held, but the Congress - made up of a Senate with equal representation of the newly declared States and of a Chamber of Deputies with delegations proportional to the size of the population of each State - was required to adopt a Constitution that conformed to the republican system of Govenrnment and to the Federal model of state. The Constitution was promulgated by Congress on 24 February 1891. It confirmed the abolition of the parliamentary system of Government, and created a presidential Executive, widely based on the model of the United States of America. Presidents and Vice-Presidents were to be elected for 4 years, without the possibility of re-election, by direct popular ballot, but for the first presidential term, Congress was to conduct the election immediately after the adoption of the Constitution. Subsequent presidents were to be elected on 1 March and inauguared on 15 November, starting in the year 1894. Accordingly, under those transitional rules, on 25 February 1891, the day after the adoption of the Constitution, Congress voted for President and Vice-President, and the then Head of the Provisional Government, Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca, was elected to become the Nation's first President. Deodoro's swearing-in as President took place on the following day, 26 February 1891, and that inauguration marked the termination of the Provisional Government.
- In a coup d'état on 3 November 1891, he shut down the National Congress and ruled by decree for a few weeks, attempting to establish a dictatorial regime in the fashion of the Spanish American caudillos. There was a reaction by the Brazilian Navy against Deodoro's coup (the First Revolt of the Armada) and Deodoro was forced to resign the presidency. Deodoro was effectively deposed by the forces loyal to the Constitution in a counter-coup d'état, but because he yealded to the demands of the Navy and agreed to resign the Presidency, neither the constitutional impeachment process, nor a formal overthrowal without impeachment (that would have been a new violation of the Constitution, this time by the counter-coup forces) took place, and instead Deodoro's removal from office was formalized as a simple resignation. Upon Deodoro's resignation on 23 November 1891, Vice-President Floriano Peixoto succeeded to the Presidency. Once he succeeded to the Presidency, Floriano Peixoto reversed Deodoro's coup: the dissolution of Congress was deemed null and void, and Deodoro's other acts since the coup were similarly declared void.
- Vice-President Floriano Peixoto succeeded to the Presidency upon President Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca's resignation. The Constitution then in force stipulated that, whenever the Presidency became vacant during the first half of presidential term, new elections should be summoned at once, and the Vice-President should serve as President only until the inauguration of a new elected President. Deodoro had resigned during the first half of his presidential term (he had been sworn-in as President on 26 February 1891 to serve until 14 November 1894 and had resigned the office on 23 November 1891), but the new President, Floriano Peixoto, refused to summon new elections, arguing that the constitutional provision requiring new elections should only apply if the Presidency had been vacated during the first half of the presidential term by a President elected by direct popular ballot under the permanent provisions of the Constitution. Floriano held that, because Deodoro and himself had been respectively elected President and Vice-President by the Constituent Congress under the transitional provisions of the Constitution, and because the Constitution directed that the first elections by direct popular ballot should be held on 1 March 1894 to choose the President that would be inaugurated on 15 November 1894 for the first regular four year term, no elections needed to take place in the wake of Deodoro's resignation, neither by Congress, nor by direct popular ballot. Accordingly, Floriano Peixoto continued to serve as president for the remainder of the first presidential term, that is, until 14 November 1894. Because his interpretation of the Constitution was disputed by several political forces and his manner was regarded as also dictatorial, Floriano faced many revolts (including the Second Revolt of the Armada, that the Administration managed to defeat), and Floriano governed under state of siege, with the right of habeas corpus and several other constitutional rights suspended (in accordance with the emergency provisions of the Constitution), for most of his time in office.
- Vice-President elect Silviano Brandão died on 25 September 1902, before his inauguration. Accordingly, on inauguration day, 15 November 1902, President Rodrigues Alves took office alone, and the Vice-Presidency was declared vacant. As per the constitutional norms then in force, a special election was then summoned to choose a new Vice-President to serve the remainder of the four-year term.
- The special election for Vice-President, summoned to fill the vacancy provoked by the death of Vice-President elect Silviano Brandão, was held on 18 March 1903. Afonso Pena was elected to the Vice-Presidency, and took office on 23 June 1903.
- President Afonso Pena, elected to serve the 1906–1910 presidential term, died in office on 14 June 1909. Upon Afonso Pena's death, Vice-President Nilo Peçanha became President and served during the remainder of the presidential term.
- Rodrigues Alves, who had been the 5th President of Brazil (1902–1906), was elected to serve as the 10th President in 1918 but fell ill with the Spanish Flu before his inauguration, so that he was not able to attend it. His running-mate, Delfim Moreira took office as vice-president and became acting president. Rodriges Alves never took the oath of office to become the 10th President, as he did not recover from his illness and died. Delfim Moreira succeeded to the Presidency upon the President-elect's death in January 1919.
- Vice-President Delfim Moreira succeeded to the Presidency upon the death of President-elect Rodrigues Alves, but, in accordance with the constitutional provisions then in force, since the vacancy of the presidency occurred in the first half of the four-year presidential term, new elections were summoned and Delfim Moreira served only until an elected President was chosen and inaugurated to finish the 1918–1922 presidential term.
- Rodrigues Alves died on 16 January 1919. The extraordinary election summoned in accordance with the Constitution was held on 13 April 1919. Elected to finish the remainder of the 1918–1922 presidential term, Epitácio Pessoa took office on 28 July 1919. Upon the inauguration of President Epitácio Pessoa, Delfim Moreira ceased to be President, and returned to the office of Vice-President.
- Vice-President Delfim Moreira died on 1 July 1920. After his death, the Vice-Presidency remained vacant until a new Vice-President was elected and inaugurated. Bueno de Paiva took office as Vice-President on 11 November 1920 to complete the remainder of the 1918–1922 term of office.
- President Washington Luís was deposed by the 1930 Revolution, marking the end of the Old Republic era. The Revolution broke out on 3 October 1930, and, after battles between revolutionary and government forces far from the Capital, a military faction in the Capital sided with the revolutionaries and deposed the President on 24 October 1930. Upon Washington Luís' overthrow, a provisional military junta seized power; days later that military triumvirate would cede full authority to Getúlio Vargas, the leader of the revolutionary movement, who declared the 1891 Constitution abolished, dissolved Congress and formed a Provisional Government, promising the creation of a new constitutional order.
- Júlio Prestes, elected on 1 March 1930, never took office due to the 1930 coup that deposed his predecessor Washington Luís.
- Getúlio Vargas governed by decree from 3 November 1930 to 20 July 1934, as Head of the Provisional Government, with absolute powers. In 1932 a revolution broke out in the State of São Paulo, demanding the restoration of Constitutional Government. The revolution was defeated by the Government, but it led to Vargas finally making good on his promise to summon a Constituent Assembly. The National Constituent Assembly promulgated Brazil's new Constitution on 16 July 1934, and, under the Constitution's transitional provisions, the first President was to be elected by the Assembly, and subsequent presidents were to be elected by direct popular ballot. In accordance with those rules, on 17 July 1934 the Constituent Assembly voted for President and Vargas won the election. Accordingly, Vargas, who until then was Head of the Provisional Government, was sworn-in as President of the Republic on 20 July 1934, for a term of office that would last until the inauguration of a successor on 3 May 1938. However, on 10 November 1937, Vargas led a coup d'état and proclaimed the Estado Novo dictatorship, imposing a new Constitution that allowed him to rule by decree. Both the referendum provided in the 1937 Constitution that would have confirmed the adoption of the new constitutional legislation, and the elections provided in the 1937 Constitution were never held, under the pretext of a state of emergency. Accordingly, Vargas effectively extended his term of office indefinitely, and ruled Brazil as a dictator until he was deposed by the military on 29 October 1945.
- The office of Vice-President was abolished during Vargas' tenure, as neither the 1934 Constitution nor the 1937 Constitution provided for a Vice-President.
- José Linhares, President of the Supreme Court, took office as President of the Republic after he was summoned by the Armed Forces, once his predecessor had been deposed. The Linhares Administration was a transitional government, that established the rules and procedures for the restoration of democratic institutions in Brazil. Once presidential elections were held and the elected President took office, José Linhares returned to his position as President of the Supreme Court.
- In accordance with the rules decreed during the Linhares Administration to govern the transition to democracy, the 1945 elections were held to choose a President and the members of the Constituent Assembly (made up of Senators and Deputies) only. The office of Vice-President had been abolished since 1934, and so no Vice-President was chosen. However, the Constituent Assembly decided to recereate the office of Vice-President. The Constitution adopted on 18 September 1946 specified that the first Vice-President would be elected by the Constituent Assembly itself on the day following the promulgation of the Constitution, and would take office on the same date, to serve until the inauguration of the President and Vice-President to be chosen in 1951. Under those transitional provisions, Nereu Ramos was elected and inaugurated as Vice-President on 19 September 1946.
- Vargas committed suicide on 24 August 1954.
- Upon the suicide of President Getúlio Vargas on 24 August 1954 Vice President Café Filho immediately assumed the powers and duties of the Presidency as Acting President, but the joint session of Congress required by the Federal Constitution for his swearing-in as President was only held on 3 September 1954, after the burial of the deceased President and a period of mourning. Accordingly, from 24 August 1954 until 3 September 1954, Café Filho was Acting President of the Republic, and on 3 September 1954 he took the constitutional oath in the presence of Congress and became President.
- On 9 November 1955 President Café Filho declared himself temporarily unable to govern for medical reasons. His self-declared incapacity led to the assumption of the presidency by Carlos Luz (who was President of the Chamber of Deputies) as Acting President. The President of the Chamber of Deputies was the constitutional successor of the President of the Republic because the Vice-Presidency was then vacant. However, Acting President Carlos Luz was seen as hostile to the inauguration of the then-president elect, Juscelino Kubitschek. It was widely rumored that President Café Filho opposed the inauguration of Kubitscheck, but lacked the willingness to subvert the constitutional order himself, so that he had taken his leave of absence in order to pave the way for the assumption of the powers of the presidency by Carlos Luz, who would then act to block the inauguration of the President-elect. Therefore, fearing that Carlos Luz would lead a coup to prevent the inauguration of the president-elect, a section of the military, led by the Army Minister himself (Marshal Henrique Teixeira Lott), in what they called a preventive counter-coup, deposed Carlos Luz from the post of Acting President, and installed Senator Nereu Ramos, the President of the Senate, as Acting President of the Republic in his stead. Upon the deposition of Carlos Luz from the post of Acting President, President Café Filho attempted to terminate his self-declared incapacity, but was prevented from resuming the powers and duties of the presidency by the same military faction that had installed Nereu Ramos as Acting President.
- Nereu Ramos was the President of the Federal Senate. Summoned by the Minister of the Army, Henrique Teixeira Lott, who led the coup to overtrow Carlos Luz, Senator Nereu Ramos assumed the presidency after Luz's deposition, on 11 November 1955. Although President Café Filho was not formally deposed, the same military establishment that had deposed Carlos Luz blocked President Café Filho from resuming the powers and duties of the presidency. Café Filho attempted to obtain an injunction from the Supreme Federal Court, but the Court refused to interfere in the political question. Accordingly, Nereu Ramos remained in office for the remainder of Café Filho's term, until the inauguration of President-elect Kubitschek.
- President Jânio Quadros resigned from office on 25 August 1961. There were no political reasons for President Quadros' sudden and abrupt resignation, that took the country and the political establishment by surprise. Some aides and close advisors of the former President have postulated that Quadros was heavily drunk when he wrote and ordered the delivery to Congress of his letter of resignation. Others suggest that Quadros imagined that Congress would not want his Vice-President, João Goulart, as President, and that the Legislature would therefore ask him to reconsider his resignation, and would agree to grant him extraordinary powers. Several historians postulate that both things may be true: Quadros was drunk, and in that state he imagined that his resignation would not be accepted and would result in him being able to bargain for extraordinary powers. However, the Brazilian Constitution did not require that the President's resignation be accepted by Congress or by any authority; instead the resignation was deemed to be a unilateral act, that became effective as soon as Congress received the President's written instrument of resignation. Accordingly, once the President of Congress received the Quadros' letter of resignation, a joint session of Congress was convened, the resignation letter was simply read and entered into the records of Congress, and the resignation was deemed effective, and as a result the President of Congress immediately proceeded to declare that Quadros had vacated the Presidency. Afterwards, when asked why he had resigned from office, Quadros denied both the claims of authoritarian intentions and the accounts that he was drunk, but simply stated that he had done it because he wanted to, giving no further reasons for his action.
- Mazzilli, President of the Chamber of Deputies and second in line in the presidential order of succession, became Acting President of the Republic upon President Quadros' resignation, because the Vice-President of the Republic, João Goulart, was then out of the country, on an official visit to China. Due to a serious political crisis (see below for further details), Vice-President Goulart only took office as President on 7 September 1961, and Mazzilli remained as Acting President until then.
- Goulart was on an official visit to China when Quadros resigned the presidency. While the Vice-President was still abroad, there was an attempt on the part of the Vice-President's opponents, who controlled Congress, to prevent him from being inaugurated, but that movement failed, due to resistance by the Governor of the State Rio Grande do Sul and a split in the military. However, Congress only allowed the inauguration of Goulart to proceed after a compromise was reached, whereby a Constitutional Amendment severely limiting the powers of the presidency was passed on 2 September 1961. Under that Constitutional Amendment, the presidential Executive, that had existed since the proclamation of the Republic, was abolished and replaced with a parliamentary system, in which a prime minister was the head of the Government, and the President retained only the role of head of State. The Amendment however stipulated that the constitutional change would only become permanent if confirmed by the people in a referendum. On 6 January 1963 that referendum was held, and a majority of the voters rejected the Amendment, backing the restoration of the presidential Executive instead. According to the result of the referendum, on 23 January 1963 a new Constitutional Amendment was promulgated, reppealing the 1961 Amendment and re-establishing the presidential Executive as it existed immediately prior to that Amendment. Thus, from 7 September 1961 until 23 January 1963 President Goulart served as head of State only, in a parliamentary system of Government, and, from 23 January 1963 onwards, he served as both Head of State and Head of Government.
- Deposed by the military coup of 1964.
- Following the 1964 military coup, the President of Congress, Senator Auro de Moura Andrade convened a joint session of Congress and summarily announced that President João Goulart was deposed. Moura Andrade then declared Ranieri Mazzilli (who then was the President of the Chamber of Deputies and the first person in the presidential line of succession) to have succeeded to the office of President of the Republic. Accordingly, Mazzilli assumed the office of President on 1 April 1964. On 9 April 1964, a body known as the Supreme Command of the Revolution, composed of the leaders of the military coup (the commanders of the three branches of the Armed Forces), issued an Institutional Act summoning the National Congress to elect a new President in 48 hours. The military then put forward the name of Marshal Castelo Branco, and he was elected by Congress as planned. Ranieri Mazzilli, therefore, remained as President only until the inauguration of Castelo Branco on 15 April 1964.
- Alkmin was a PSD member; when the PSD was abolished in 1965, he joined ARENA
- A military junta composed of the Ministers in charge of the three branches of the Armed Forces assumed the powers of the presidency on 31 August 1969 after President Costa e Sliva suffered a cerebral trombosis that left him completely incapacitated. The military junta seized power so as to prevent Vice-President Pedro Aleixo, a civilian, from becoming acting president. The possibility of a civilian, even a conservative one, assuming the powers of the presidency was seen as detrimental to the continuity of the military regime. In the initial stage of the President's disease, the junta hoped that he would recover. Subsequently, realizing that the President's condition was irreversible, and that the prolonged continuity of a triumvirate was detrimental to the regime and to its image, the military junta issued an institutional act on 14 October 1969 removing the incapacitated President and the Vice-President from office and summoning Congress to elect a new President and Vice-President. The military elite that controlled the regime then selected General Emílio Garrastazu Médici to be ARENA's candidate, and his name was rubber-stamped by Congress. The junta remained in place until the new President was sworn-in. Brazilian Federal Law number 12.486, promulgated on 12 September 2011 posthumously recognizes the illegality of the act that prevented Vice-President Pedro Aleixo from becoming acting president and that removed him from office, and directs that he be deemed and taken as a former President of the Republic for all legal purposes. Costa e Silva died less than three months after his removal, and were it not for the military acts now declared illegal that removed him from the Vice-Presidency, Pedro Aleixo would have succeeded to the Presidency.
- Died before taking office, but more than one month after the start of his presidential term. President-elect Tancredo Neves became gravely ill on the eve of his own inauguration, so that he could not attend it. José Sarney, his running mate, took office as Vice-President and served as acting president from the day of Neves' would-be inauguration to the day he died. Upon Neves' death on 21 April 1985, Acting President Sarney succeeded to the presidency. On the first anniversary of Neves' death a statute was signed into Law (federal law 7.465/1986), establishing that Tancredo Neves "elected but not sworn-in due to his death" should be included in the gallery of the Presidents of Brazil "for all legal purposes".
- Impeached by the Chamber of Deputies on corruption charges. Upon the acceptance of the charges of impeachment, President Collor was suspended from office for 180 days in accordance with the Constitution and Vice-President Itamar Franco became Acting President. On the final day of his trial of impeachment before the Brazilian Federal Senate, Collor resigned the presidency, in an attempt to stop the process. Acting President Itamar Franco was then sworn-in as President. The trial of impeachment continued in spite of Collor's resignation and he was found guilty of the charges and disqualified for holding public office for eight years.
- Itamar Franco joined the PRN for the 1989 election to run as Collor's running mate. In office, he broke with Collor, and left the PRN on 5 May 1992, returning to the PMDB.