(HN, November 1, 2010) -- Dilma Rousseff, the former Marxist rebel who was imprisoned and tortured during Brazil’s military dictatorship, has become the country’s first female leader, winning 56% of the total votes compared to rival Jose Serra’s 44%
Ms. Rousseff, the protégée of current leader, Luiz inacio Lula da Silva (Lula), has vowed to follow in her predecessor's footsteps by continuing to work to eradicate extreme poverty in Brazil, which approximately 20 million people in Brazil suffer from.
Ms. Rousseff takes office on 1 January next year when President Lula steps down after completing the constitutional limit of two consecutive terms.
Her election as Brazil’s first female leader was a sign of the democratic progress Brazil has made, Rousseff said in her victory speech in the capital, Brasilia. “I am here stating my first post-election commitment: to honor Brazilian women so that this fact – unprecedented until now – becomes something normal and can be repeated and expanded in companies, public institutions, and organizations that are representative of our entire society.” She continued: “I would like very much today for fathers and mothers of daughters to look in their eyes and tell them ‘Yes, woman can.”
Rousseff, 62, had never before held elected office. She is an economist and worked her way up through local and state governments.
She joined President Lula’s cabinet as energy minister in 2003-5 and then became his chief of staff.
She is expected to emphasize government efficiency, expand the role of state in some sectors such as mining, and upgrade the country’s dilapidated infrastructure.
Paying respect to her predecessor she said, “The task of succeeding him is difficult and challenging. But I know I will honor this legacy and extend his work”
In the near future Ms. Rousseff will oversee a huge expansion of Brazil’s oil industry, following the discovery of major offshore fields that should make Brazil one of the world’s top 10 oil exporters.
She can count on strengthened majorities for the governing coalition in both houses of Congress to help ease the task of pushing her legislative agenda.
President Lula said of Rousseff that she will have “to form a government in her own image – I only hope she achieves more than I did.”
- HUM News Staff