Brazil Elected its First Female Leader

October 31 was a day to be remembered: for the first time in the history of Brazil, a woman was elected president. When she takes office January 1, she will be Brazil’s first female leader: the leading light of Latin America’s biggest nation, a country in the midst of an economic and political rise.

Ms Rousseff was the preferred successor of President Lula, who is leaving after two terms with record popularity. As expected, once the votes were counted, thousands of supporters of the governing Workers’ Party (PT) took to the streets from the North to the South to celebrate her victory over José Serra. Dilma promised to “honour the trust” Brazilians had put in her. In her victory speech, she said her first priority would be to take 20 million Brazilians out of poverty.

Dilma Roussef will be the guide of a nation on the rise and which will be responsible for hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics as well. By this time, Brazil is expected to be the globe’s fifth-largest economy. That is why, as Lula´s candidate promises, the left-leaning policies of her mentor will be continued. According to the new president, the emphasis will persist in government efficiency, expanding the role of the state in some sectors such as mining, and improving the quality of the country’s infrastructure.

The daughter of a Bulgarian immigrant and a schoolteacher, Dilma became a socialist during her youth. She was captured and jailed between 1970 and 1972 and became a victim of the military dictatorship (she was reportedly tortured). Years later, as a graduated economist, she raised her way up through local and state governments. In 2003 she became part of Lula’s cabinet. From 2003 to 2005 she was Minister of Energy, a first step towards Chief of Staff, in which she remained in office until March 31, 2010 – when she left in order to run for President.


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