Sarney de Araújo Costa, José, 1930–, Brazilian politician, president of Brazil (1985–90), b. José Ribamar Ferreira de Araújo Costa. He served as a federal deputy (1958–64), governor of Maranhâo (1965–70), and federal senator (1970–84). He became vice president in the elections (1985) ending military rule, and was sworn in as president upon the death of President-elect Neves (Apr., 1985). The nascent democracy over which he presided faced severe problems including a massive foreign debt, massive inflation, endemic unemployment, poverty, and social injustice. During his term, a Constituent Assembly wrote a new democratic constitution. He was succeeded by Fernando Collor de Mello. Sarney again served in the Brazilian senate after his presidency, and was thrice elected (1995, 2003, 2009) senate president.