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Brazil’s interim president is almost as unpopular as Dilma Rousseff was

The first major poll to evaluate support for Michel Temer has given him an approval rating of just 13 percent. Rousseff set an historic low of 10 percent in March.

by VICE News
Jul 1 2016, 5:40pm

Imagen por Eraldo Peres/AP Images.

The first major poll to evaluate support for Brazil's acting president, Michel Temer, has given him an approval rating of just 13 percent.

Temer took office seven weeks ago after the senate suspended Dilma Rousseff from the presidency, pending an impeachment trial for alleged creative accounting.

The survey, carried out by CNI/Ibope and published on Friday, suggests the new president is now almost as unpopular as Rousseff was when her ratings hit an historic low of 10 percent in March.

These dismal figures — which also found that 66 percent of those questioned said they distrusted Temer — reflect the depth of Brazilian wariness of the country's entire political class.

Over the last couple of years, a massive anti-corruption investigation into kickbacks emanating from the state-run oil company Petrobras has brought down leading figures from all Brazil's major political parties, and raised suspicions about many more.

The probe — known as Lava Jato, or Car Wash — has directly tainted several members of Temer's own cabinet, just as it did close associates of Rousseff.

With the investigation showing no sign of slowing down, politicians are struggling to convince the public that they can lead Brazil into a more ethical era.

Related: Brazil's New President Loves Appointing White Men Accused of Corruption and Attempted Murder

This Friday Temer signed a law that seeks to make kickback scams harder to set up by banning politicians from jumping into high-ranking jobs in state-controlled companies. Government sources told Reuters that legislators are seeking to reach an agreement to soften the ban.

Temer's unpopularity is also presumably related to recent public spending cuts in the context of Brazil's deep recession. The veteran lawmaker, who was Rousseff's vice president, has also been lambasted for his appointment of an all male and all white cabinet.

In other circumstances, the sitting president would be looking forward to a boost when Rio de Janeiro hosts the Olympics in one month's time.

But this year's games are beset by financial problems, accusations of graft, and concern over the threat of the Zika virus. What's more, Rousseff's inevitably controversial impeachment trial is due to take place at the same time.

Related: Savior or Villain? A New Leader Steps Into the Scandal-Plagued Brazilian Presidency

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