Spain’s acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy took advantage of his visit earlier this week to the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China to show his support for Brazil’s new president, Michel Temer, who came to power last week following the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff.
Temer, a former vice-president of Brazil, was sworn in as president on August 31 following a Senate vote against Rousseff.
But Latin American and other leaders have kept their distance: his approval rating is below 20% according to recent polls, while his Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB) is embroiled in the Petrobras state oil company scandal, as is Rousseff’s Workers Party, its ally for more than a decade.
Spanish government sources said no dates for state visits would be announced for at least six months
Polls show that half of Brazilians want new elections, seeing Temer as having stabbed Rousseff in the back through the impeachment process.
Keen to attract much-needed investment to Brazil’s ailing economy, Temer met with Japan’s Shinzo Abe and Italy’s Matteo Renzi, but Rajoy was the only leader to accept a joint photo op, with both national flags in the background.
Temer also extended an invitation to Spain’s King Felipe VI as head of state. Rajoy and Temer reportedly discussed the situation in Colombia following the peace accords between the government and the leftist FARC guerilla force, as well as the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.
Rajoy outlined the situation in Spain following inconclusive elections in December and June and the subsequent impasse that has prevented his Popular Party from forming a government.
Temer avoided detailed conversations with other leaders, who limited themselves to congratulating Brazil on hosting successful Olympic Games.
Rajoy is the only leader so far to offer such a public display of support to Temer
“I think this encounter was very productive from all aspects,” said Temer at a press conference for Brazilian journalists.
Rajoy and Temer discussed the economic outlook for their respective countries, and the need to establish stronger bilateral economic and political ties. Brazil is Spain’s third-largest investment destination, and companies such as Santander and Repsol have extensive interests there.
Spanish government sources said that while both leaders had extended official invitations to each other, as well as to King Felipe VI, no dates would be announced for at least six months.
Rajoy also held bilateral meetings with Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri and China’s President Xi Jinping.
English version by Nick Lyne.