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Dilma Rousseff Makes History as first Female President of Brazil

01/11/2010 12:37

Dilma Rousseff, a former Marxist guerilla, has made history as the first woman to become the president of Brazil. She defeated her rival Jose Serra, 68, a former governor and candidate of Social Democratic Party, to become the successor of President Luiz Inacio da Silva, come January 1, 2011. She defeated Serra with 55.6 per cent to 44.3 per cent, in a runoff.



A highly reverred administrator, the 62-year-old, who is also a trained economist and cancer survivor, stunned her critics with the win. A presidential poll in late 2008, prior to the political elections heating up, had giving her no chances of winning the elections. The October 31 elections have however, proved otherwise.



Rousseff was in fact the former chief of staff of da Silva, and a former minister of mines and energy. The message of her campaign, which obviously was in line with the fact that she was handpicked by da Silva, was: "If you like Lula, vote for me, because I will do exactly what he did the past eight years."



At Brasilia, an elated Rousseff, while expressing her joy to her fellow Brazilians, told reporters: I’m very happy. I want to thank all Brazilians for this moment and I promise to honour the trust they have shown me...”  In her acceptance speech, she further expressed her joy thus: “Equality of opportunity between men and women is an essential principle of democracy...What gave me more confidence and hope at the same time was the immense capacity of our people to seize an opportunity, however small, to build a better world with it.”



Rousseff, daughter of Bulgarian immigrants to Brazil, was born in 1947. In 1967, at the age of 20, she was already an active member of the Leftist student organizations, which was created as a reaction to the military coup of 1964. Her activism did not come at no cost, as after her capture in 1970, she was subjected to torture for 22 days, before finally been released two years later. 



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