Michel Temer has taken over as president of Brazil, promising to revive economic growth and create jobs, and vowing to maintain popular social programs credited with helping millions of people out of poverty in recent years.
"This is not a moment for celebration, but for profound reflection," Mr. Temer said in his first appearance in the presidential palace in Brazil on Thursday evening, alluding to more than five months of political turmoil and a power struggle rife with jaw-dropping events. "It is urgent to pacify the nation and unify Brazil – to do a government of national salvation."
He said "fundamental" sectors such as health and education must stay in the public purview. "But we know the state can't do everything." Reducing the state role in order to fuel investment and create jobs would be priorities, he said.
Mr. Temer, a 75-year-old lawyer and veteran member of Congress, pledged to maintain and "protect" the vast Lava Jato corruption investigation that helped topple his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff – although seven of his 24 new cabinet ministers are under investigation or, like Mr. Temer himself, have been named in plea bargain testimony by witnesses alleged to have paid bribes and fixed contracts.
Mr. Temer spoke six hours after Ms. Rousseff bade an impassioned farewell to supporters as she left the palace.
Senators voted 55 to 22 to open a trial of Ms. Rousseff for violating federal budgetary laws, forcing her to step aside for 180 days, after a 20-hour session that ended after dawn. She vowed to fight on, but the wide margin of the vote suggests she will not succeed in stopping the impeachment.
In her last moments in office, Ms. Rousseff continued to insist she was the victim of a coup and called on her supporters to resist. "They have taken by force what they could not conquer at the ballot box," she said of the opposition.
Poised except for a brief moment when her voice wavered, she said she was proud to have been elected Brazil's first female president. She made reference to her time as a prisoner of the military dictatorship when she was a guerrilla and to her later fight with cancer.
"I have suffered the invisible pain of torture, the emotional pain of illness and now I suffer once more the equally unspeakable pain of injustice," she said. "What hurts the most in this moment is the injustice. It's the realization that I'm the victim of a judicial and political farce. But I do not falter. I look back and I see everything we have done. I look onwards and I see everything we need to do. … I look at myself and see the face of someone who, even though marked by time, still has the strength to fight for their beliefs and rights."
As she left the palace, she was clasped in an emotional embrace by her political mentor, former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Successively, the two had presided over 13 years of leftist government that managed, for the first time ever in Brazil, to lessen socio-economic inequality even as the economy grew. But when global economic trends turned against Brazil, and Ms. Rousseff doubled down on state control of the economy, the impact on Brazil was devastating. She leaves office with popularity ratings below 10 per cent.
Mr. Temer takes over with high expectations from the business community, which campaigned vigorously for the impeachment. But he inherits the grim macroeconomic picture: Inflation and unemployment are both above 10 per cent, while GDP contracted by 3.8 per cent last year and may shrink further this year.
The most striking fact about the cabinet Mr. Temer swore in Friday was its homogeneity: It is the first since 1979 to have not a single female minister. The new cabinet is also all white, in a country that is more than 53 per cent black or of mixed race. On social media, Brazilians created memes comparing photos of Mr. Temer surrounded by white men in dark suits with those of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's widely circulated "Because it's 2015" introduction of his own diverse cabinet.
Mr. Temer gave the Justice Ministry to Alexandre de Moraes, who acted as lawyer to Eduardo Cunha, the former speaker of the lower house of Congress. On May 5, Mr. Cunha was deposed from the office by the Supreme Court on the grounds that he tried to obstruct an investigation into charges he accepted millions of dollars in bribes and hid them in a Swiss bank account that he then, under oath, denied having. The Justice Minister is responsible for the federal police, which is conducting the Lava Jato investigation.
Mr. Temer's new finance minister is Henrique Meirelles, who served as governor of the Central Bank from 2003 to 2011, when Brazil's economy soared.
Blairo Maggi, a soy baron, takes over the Agriculture Ministry, a portfolio in which a critical driver of the Brazilian economy is often pitted against conservation pressure, especially in the critical Amazonian area. In recent weeks, Mr. Maggi has been advancing a constitutional amendment that would sharply curtail environmental protections.