Photo: Juan Laverde for HS-News
Dilma Rousseff, 62 has been elected president of Brazil and next January 1st she’ll become the first woman to ever move into the office Lula has occupied for two terms.
She vowed to “honor the trust” Brazilians had put in her and work towards eradicating poverty.
Throughout her campaign, Rousseff enjoyed the full support of President Lula, who steps down with record popularity.
The daughter of a Bulgarian immigrant and a schoolteacher, Rousseff was raised in an upper middle class household in Belo Horizonte. She became a socialist during her youth, and after the coup d’état of 1964 joined left-wing urban guerrilla groups opposing the military dictatorship. Between 1970 and 1972 Rouseff was captured, jailed and reportedly tortured for close to a month.
Following her release, Rousseff rebuilt her life in Porto Alegre with Carlos Araújo, her partner of 30 years. The couple helped found the Democratic Labour Party (PDT) in the state, and played key roles in several of the party’s electoral campaigns.
Rouseff became the Secretary of the Treasury of Porto Alegre during the Alceu Collares administration, and later the Secretary of Energy of Rio Grande du Sol under both Collares and Olívio Dutra administrations.
In 2002, Rousseff joined the committee in charge of the energy policy of the then candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who invited her to become Minister of Energy.
In 2005, a political crisis triggered by a corruption scandal led to the resignation of Chief of Staff José Dirceu; in June 2005 Ms. Rouseff was appointed Chief of Staff by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, becoming the first woman to assume the position.
Rousseff took over the post, remaining in office until March 31, 2010, when she left in order to run for President.
The Superior Electoral Court declared that with 99% of the votes counted, Rouseff had won 56%, against 44% for her rival, Jose Serra of the Social Democratic Party.
This second round of voting was forced after Ms Rousseff fell short of the 50% needed in the first round, October 3rd . She won 47% to Mr Serra’s 33%.
Thousands of supporters of the governing Workers Party have taken over the streets of Brazil in celebration.