Brazil elects first female president
Dilma Rousseff celebrated victory yesterday after she was elected Brazil's first female president and vowed to uphold the legacy of her predecessor and mentor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Rousseff, who served as Lula's cabinet chief before he hand-picked her to succeed him in the run-off, choked back emotion as she expressed her gratitude in a victory speech in Brasilia.
"The happiness I feel today for my win is mixed with sadness for his departure," she said Sunday.
"The task of succeeding him is difficult and challenging. But I know I will honor this legacy and extend his work," she said.
"I will knock on his door often, and I know it will always be open."
Rousseff pledged to eradicate poverty at home, and lambasted the world's leading economies for devaluing their monies in a "currency war" that was threatening the exports of Brazil and other countries.
A 62-year-old economist by training and a career bureaucrat, Rousseff was virtually unknown to Brazilians before Lula thrust her into the spotlight alongside him this year.
Thanks to the his support, she quickly became the favourite in the race that pitted her against opposition rival Jose Serra, former state governor of Sao Paulo.
Although Lula's project to have her elected tottered in the October 3 first round, when she failed to win the expected majority needed to avert Sunday's run-off, it got back on track for the run-off.
Rousseff picked up 56 percent of the vote to Serra's 44 percent, according to an official tally of all ballots by the High Electoral Tribunal.
She will take charge of Latin America's biggest economy on January 1 next year, when Lula, 65, is required to step down, having completed the maximum two consecutive terms permitted by law.