The Most Famous

POLITICIANS from Brazil

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This page contains a list of the greatest Brazilian Politicians. The pantheon dataset contains 15,577 Politicians, 83 of which were born in Brazil. This makes Brazil the birth place of the 38th most number of Politicians behind Serbia, and Argentina.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Brazilian Politicians of all time. This list of famous Brazilian Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Brazilian Politicians.

Photo of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

1. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (b. 1945)

With an HPI of 76.23, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is the most famous Brazilian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 125 different languages on wikipedia.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Brazilian Portuguese: [luˈiz iˈnasju ˈlulɐ dɐ ˈsiwvɐ] ; born Luiz Inácio da Silva; 27 October 1945), also known as Lula da Silva or simply Lula, is a Brazilian politician who is the 39th and current president of Brazil since 2023. A member of the Workers' Party, Lula was also the 35th president from 2003 to 2010. He also holds the presidency of the G20 since 2023. Lula quit school after second grade to work, and did not learn to read until he was ten years old. As a teenager, he worked as a metalworker and became a trade unionist. Between 1978 and 1980 he led workers' strikes during Brazil's military dictatorship, and in 1980 he helped start the Workers' Party during Brazil's political opening. Lula was one of the leaders of the 1984 Diretas Já movement, which demanded direct elections. In 1986, he was elected a federal deputy in the state of São Paulo. He ran for president in 1989, but lost in the second round. He went on to also lose two other presidential elections, both in 1994, and then in 1998. He finally became president in 2002, in a runoff. In 2006, he was re-elected in the second round. Described as left-wing, his first presidency coincided with South America's first pink tide and was marked by the consolidation of social welfare programs such as Bolsa Família and Fome Zero. During his two terms in office, he undertook reforms which eventually led to growth in GDP, reduction in public debt and inflation, and helping 20 million Brazilians escape poverty. He also played a role in foreign policy, both on a regional level and as part of global trade and environment negotiations. During his first two terms, Lula was considered one of the most popular politicians in Brazil's history while president, and one of the most popular in the world. His first term was marked by notable scandals, including the Mensalão vote-buying scandal. After the 2010 Brazilian general election, he was succeeded by his former chief of staff, Dilma Rousseff, and remained active in politics and gave lectures. In July 2017, Lula was convicted on charges of money laundering and corruption in a trial, after which he spent a total of 580 days in prison. He attempted to run in the 2018 Brazilian presidential election, but was disqualified under Brazil's Ficha Limpa law; he was released the following year in 2019, and his conviction was nullified in 2021 by the Supreme Court. The same ruling, which also found serious biases in the case against him, also annulled all other pending cases against him. Now legally allowed to make another run for president, he did so in the 2022 election and ultimately defeated the incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in a runoff. Sworn in on 1 January 2023 at the age of 77, he is the oldest Brazilian president at time of inauguration, as well as the first-ever candidate to have defeated an incumbent president and be elected to a third term.

Photo of Dilma Rousseff

2. Dilma Rousseff (b. 1947)

With an HPI of 73.14, Dilma Rousseff is the 2nd most famous Brazilian Politician.  Her biography has been translated into 110 different languages.

Dilma Vana Rousseff (Brazilian Portuguese: [ˈdʒiwmɐ ˈvɐ̃nɐ ʁuˈsɛf(i)]; born 14 December 1947) is a Brazilian economist and politician who is the Chair of the New Development Bank since March 2023. Previously, she served as the 36th president of Brazil from 2011 until her impeachment and removal from office on 31 August 2016. She is the first woman to have held the Brazilian presidency. She also previously served as the chief of staff to former and current president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from 2005 to 2010. Rousseff was raised in an upper middle class household in Belo Horizonte. She became a socialist in her youth. After the 1964 coup d'état she joined left-wing and Marxist urban guerrilla groups that fought against the military dictatorship. Rousseff was captured, tortured, and jailed from 1970 to 1972. After her release, Rousseff rebuilt her life in Porto Alegre with her husband Carlos Araújo. They both helped to found the Democratic Labour Party (PDT) in Rio Grande do Sul, and participated in several of the party's electoral campaigns. She became the treasury secretary of Porto Alegre under Alceu Collares, and later Secretary of Energy of Rio Grande do Sul under both Collares and Olívio Dutra. In 2001, after an internal dispute in the Dutra cabinet, she left the PDT and joined the Workers' Party (PT). In 2002, Rousseff became an energy policy advisor to presidential candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who on winning the election invited her to become his minister of energy. After chief of Staff José Dirceu resigned in 2005 in a political crisis triggered by the Mensalão corruption scandal, Rousseff became chief of staff and remained in that post until 31 March 2010, when she stepped down to run for president. She was elected in a run-off in 2010, beating Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) candidate José Serra. In 2014 she won a narrow second-round victory over Aécio Neves, also of PSDB, to serve her second term as president. Impeachment proceedings against Rousseff began in the Chamber of Deputies on 3 December 2015. On 12 May 2016, the Senate of Brazil suspended President Rousseff's powers and duties for up to six months or until the Senate decided whether to remove her from office or to acquit her. Vice President Michel Temer assumed her powers and duties as acting president of Brazil during her suspension. On 31 August 2016, the Senate voted 61–20 to convict, finding Rousseff guilty of breaking budgetary laws, and removed her from office. On 5 August 2018, the PT officially launched Rousseff's candidacy for a seat in the Federal Senate from the state of Minas Gerais. Rousseff finished fourth in the final vote and was defeated for her Senate run.

Photo of Jair Bolsonaro

3. Jair Bolsonaro (b. 1955)

With an HPI of 71.50, Jair Bolsonaro is the 3rd most famous Brazilian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 123 different languages.

Jair Messias Bolsonaro (Brazilian Portuguese: [ʒaˈiʁ meˈsi.ɐz bowsoˈnaɾu]; born 21 March 1955) is a Brazilian politician and retired military officer who served as the 38th president of Brazil from 2019 to 2022. He previously served as member of Brazil's Chamber of Deputies from 1991 to 2018. Bolsonaro began serving in the Brazilian Army in 1973 and graduated from the Military Academy of Agulhas Negras in 1977. He rose to publicity in 1986 after he wrote an article for Veja magazine criticizing low wages for military officers, after which he was arrested and detained for fifteen days. He left the army and was elected to the Municipal Chamber of Rio de Janeiro two years later. In 1990, Bolsonaro was first elected to the Chamber of Deputies as a representative for the state of Rio de Janeiro. During his 27-year tenure as a congressman, he became known for his national conservatism. Bolsonaro entered the 2018 Brazilian presidential election, during which he started to advocate economically liberal and pro-market policies. He led in the 7 October first round results and defeated Fernando Haddad in the 28 October runoff. Bolsonaro focused on domestic affairs in his first months as president, dealing primarily with the fallout of the 2014 Brazilian economic crisis. The economy recovered slowly, while crime rates fell sharply during the first year. He rolled back protections for Indigenous groups in the Amazon rainforest and facilitated its deforestation. Bolsonaro's response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil was criticized across the political spectrum after he sought to downplay the pandemic and its effects, opposed quarantine measures, and dismissed two health ministers, while the death toll increased rapidly. In the runoff of the 2022 general election, Bolsonaro lost to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. On 8 January 2023, his supporters stormed federal government buildings, calling for a coup d'état. On 30 June, the Superior Electoral Court blocked Bolsonaro from seeking office until 2030 for attempting to undermine the validity of the election through his unfounded claims of voter fraud, and for abusing his power by using government communication channels to both promote his campaign and to allege fraud. Testimonies from military officials showed that Bolsonaro had allegedly planned a self-coup with the military to keep himself in power. A polarizing and controversial politician, Bolsonaro's views and comments, which have been described as far-right and populist, drew both praise and criticism in Brazil. He is a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage, abortion, affirmative action, drug liberalization, and secularism. In foreign policy, he has advocated closer relations with Israel and with the United States; later in his presidency, he also made efforts to improve relations with the BRICS countries.

Photo of Pedro II of Brazil

4. Pedro II of Brazil (1825 - 1891)

With an HPI of 71.32, Pedro II of Brazil is the 4th most famous Brazilian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 68 different languages.

Dom Pedro II (2 December 1825 – 5 December 1891), nicknamed the Magnanimous (Portuguese: O Magnânimo), was the second and last monarch of the Empire of Brazil, reigning for over 58 years. Pedro II was born in Rio de Janeiro, the seventh child of Emperor Dom Pedro I of Brazil and Empress Dona Maria Leopoldina and thus a member of the Brazilian branch of the House of Braganza (Portuguese: Bragança). His father's abrupt abdication and departure to Europe in 1831 left the five-year-old as emperor and led to a lonely childhood and adolescence, obliged to spend his time studying in preparation for rule. His experiences with court intrigues and political disputes during this period greatly affected his later character; he grew into a man with a strong sense of duty and devotion toward his country and his people, yet increasingly resentful of his role as monarch. Pedro II inherited an empire on the verge of disintegration, but he turned Brazil into an emerging power in the international arena. The nation grew to be distinguished from its Hispanic neighbors on account of its political stability, freedom of speech, respect for civil rights, vibrant economic growth, and form of government—a functional representative parliamentary monarchy. Brazil was also victorious in the Platine War, the Uruguayan War, and the Paraguayan War, as well as prevailing in several other international disputes and domestic tensions. Pedro II pushed through the abolition of slavery despite opposition from powerful political and economic interests. The Emperor established a reputation as a vigorous sponsor of learning, culture, and the sciences, and he won the respect and admiration of people such as Charles Darwin, Victor Hugo, and Friedrich Nietzsche, and was a friend to Richard Wagner, Louis Pasteur, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, among others. The Emperor was overthrown in a sudden coup d'état that had almost no support outside a clique of military leaders who desired a form of republic headed by a dictator. Pedro II had become weary of emperorship and despaired over the monarchy's future prospects, despite its overwhelming popular support. He did not allow his ouster to be opposed and did not support any attempt to restore the monarchy. He spent the last two years of his life in exile in Europe, living alone on very little money. The reign of Pedro II ended while he was highly regarded by the people and at the pinnacle of his popularity, and some of his accomplishments were reversed as Brazil slipped into a long period of weak governments, dictatorships, and constitutional and economic crises. The men who had exiled him soon began to see in him a model for the Brazilian Republic. A few decades after his death, his reputation was restored and his remains were returned to Brazil with celebrations nationwide. Historians have regarded the Emperor positively and several have ranked him as the greatest Brazilian.

Photo of Getúlio Vargas

5. Getúlio Vargas (1882 - 1954)

With an HPI of 69.04, Getúlio Vargas is the 5th most famous Brazilian Politician.  Her biography has been translated into 70 different languages.

Getúlio Dornelles Vargas (Brazilian Portuguese: [ʒeˈtulju doʁˈnɛliz ˈvaʁɡɐs]; 19 April 1882 – 24 August 1954) was a Brazilian lawyer and politician who served as the 14th and 17th president of Brazil, from 1930 to 1945 and from 1951 until his suicide in 1954. Due to his long and controversial tenure as Brazil's provisional, constitutional, and dictatorial leader, he is considered by historians as the most influential Brazilian politician of the 20th century. Born on 19 April 1882 in São Borja, Rio Grande do Sul, to a powerful local family, Vargas had a short stint in the Brazilian Army before entering law school. He began his political career as district attorney, soon becoming a state deputy prior to a brief departure from politics. After returning to the state Legislative Assembly, Vargas led troops during Rio Grande do Sul's 1923 civil war. He entered national politics as a member of the Chamber of Deputies. Afterward, Vargas served as Minister of Finance under president Washington Luís before resigning to head Rio Grande do Sul as state president, during which he had an active tenure and introduced many policies. In 1930, after losing the presidential election, Vargas rose to power under a provisional presidency following an armed revolution, remaining until 1934 when he was elected president under a new constitution. Three years later he seized powers under the pretext of a potential communist insurrection, beginning the eight-year long Estado Novo dictatorship. In 1942, he led Brazil into World War II on the side of the Allies after being sandwiched between Nazi Germany and the United States. Though there was notable opposition to his government, the major revolts – the 1932 Constitutionalist Revolution in his provisional government, the Communist uprising of 1935 in his constitutional presidency, and the Brazilian Integralist Action's putsch in his dictatorship – were all successfully suppressed; the methods Vargas used in quelling his opposition ranged from light peace terms to jailing political opponents. Ousted in 1945 after fifteen years in power, Vargas returned to the presidency democratically after winning the 1950 Brazilian general election. However, a growing political crisis led to his suicide in 1954, prematurely ending his second presidency.

Photo of Michel Temer

6. Michel Temer (b. 1940)

With an HPI of 68.85, Michel Temer is the 6th most famous Brazilian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 75 different languages.

Michel Miguel Elias Temer Lulia (Brazilian Portuguese: [miˈʃɛw miˈɡɛw eˈli.ɐs ˈtemeʁ luˈli.ɐ]; born 23 September 1940) is a Brazilian politician, lawyer and writer who served as the 37th president of Brazil from 31 August 2016 to 31 December 2018. He took office after the impeachment and removal from office of his predecessor Dilma Rousseff. He had been the 24th vice president of Brazil since 2011 and acting president since 12 May 2016, when Rousseff's powers and duties were suspended pending an impeachment trial. The Senate's 61–20 vote on 31 August 2016 to remove Rousseff from office meant that Temer succeeded her and served out the remainder of her second term. In his first speech in office, Temer called for a government of "national salvation" and asked for the trust of the Brazilian people. He also signaled his intention to overhaul the pension system and labor laws, and to curb public spending. A 2017 poll showed that Temer's administration had 7% popular approval, with 76% of respondents in favor of his resignation. Despite widespread protests, Temer refused to step down. He did not stand for president in the 2018 Brazilian general election and was succeeded by Jair Bolsonaro.

Photo of Maria II of Portugal

7. Maria II of Portugal (1819 - 1853)

With an HPI of 68.03, Maria II of Portugal is the 7th most famous Brazilian Politician.  Her biography has been translated into 46 different languages.

Dona Maria II (4 April 1819 – 15 November 1853) "the Educator" (Portuguese: "a Educadora") or "the Good Mother" (Portuguese: "a Boa Mãe"), was Queen of Portugal from 1826 to 1828, and again from 1834 to 1853. Maria was born in Rio de Janeiro during the reign of her paternal grandfather, King Dom João VI. She was the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Braganza, who later became Emperor Dom Pedro I and Empress Dona Maria Leopoldina of Brazil. In 1826, her father became king of Portugal but quickly abdicated in favour of the seven-year-old Maria. Emperor Pedro's brother Miguel became regent and was to marry Maria when she came of age. Miguel, upon his arrival in Portugal in early 1828, immediately deposed Maria and declared himself king, thus beginning the Liberal Wars over royal succession. During most of the war, Maria pursued her education in Paris, while her father (having abdicated the Brazilian throne in 1831) returned to Europe and led a military expedition in support of Maria's claim. In 1834, Miguel was forced to abdicate and Maria was restored to the throne. She remained a member of the Brazilian imperial family until 1835 when she was excluded from the Brazilian line of succession by law. Maria's second reign was marked by continued political turmoil. In January 1835, she married Auguste, Duke of Leuchtenberg, who died two months after their marriage. In April 1836, Maria remarried to Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Maria's second husband was proclaimed King Dom Fernando II a year later in accordance with Portuguese law following the birth of their first child, Pedro. Maria faced a series of difficult pregnancies and ultimately died in childbirth in 1853, at the age of 34. She was succeeded by her eldest son, Dom Pedro V.

Photo of Juscelino Kubitschek

8. Juscelino Kubitschek (1902 - 1976)

With an HPI of 64.20, Juscelino Kubitschek is the 8th most famous Brazilian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 61 different languages.

Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʒuseˈlinu kubiˈʃɛk(i) dʒi oliˈve(j)ɾɐ]; 12 September 1902 – 22 August 1976), also known by his initials JK, was a prominent Brazilian politician who served as the 21st president of Brazil from 1956 to 1961. His term was marked by economic prosperity and political stability, being most known for the construction of a new capital, Brasília.

Photo of Fernando Henrique Cardoso

9. Fernando Henrique Cardoso (b. 1931)

With an HPI of 63.57, Fernando Henrique Cardoso is the 9th most famous Brazilian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 55 different languages.

Fernando Henrique Cardoso (Portuguese: [feʁˈnɐ̃du ẽˈʁiki kaʁˈdozu] ; born 18 June 1931), also known by his initials FHC (Portuguese: [ɛfjaɡaˈse] ), is a Brazilian sociologist, professor, and politician who served as the 34th president of Brazil from 1 January 1995 to 1 January 2003. He was the first Brazilian president to be reelected for a subsequent term. An accomplished scholar of dependency theory noted for his research on slavery and political theory, Cardoso has earned many honors including the Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation (2000) and the Kluge Prize from the US Library of Congress (2012). Cardoso was the 10th president of the International Sociological Association (1982–1986).

Photo of Deodoro da Fonseca

10. Deodoro da Fonseca (1827 - 1892)

With an HPI of 62.40, Deodoro da Fonseca is the 10th most famous Brazilian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 56 different languages.

Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca (Portuguese pronunciation: [mɐnuˈɛw deoˈdɔɾu da fõˈsekɐ]; 5 August 1827 – 23 August 1892) was a Brazilian politician and military officer who served as the first president of Brazil. He was born in Alagoas in a military family, followed a military career, and became a national figure. Fonseca took office as provisional president after heading a military coup that deposed Emperor Pedro II and established the First Brazilian Republic in 1889, disestablishing the Empire. After his election in 1891, he stepped down the same year under great political pressure when he dissolved the National Congress. He died less than a year later.

People

Pantheon has 92 people classified as Brazilian politicians born between 1571 and 1994. Of these 92, 30 (32.61%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Brazilian politicians include Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Dilma Rousseff, and Jair Bolsonaro. The most famous deceased Brazilian politicians include Pedro II of Brazil, Getúlio Vargas, and Maria II of Portugal. As of April 2024, 7 new Brazilian politicians have been added to Pantheon including José Paranhos, Baron of Rio Branco, Joaquim Nabuco, and José Paranhos, Viscount of Rio Branco.

Living Brazilian Politicians

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Deceased Brazilian Politicians

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Newly Added Brazilian Politicians (2024)

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Overlapping Lives

Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.