Dilma Rousseff becomes Brazil’s first female president

Dilma Rousseff Brazil President

Dilma Rousseff, a former Marxist guerrilla who was jailed in the 1970s, defeated her centrist rival Jose Serra with 56 percent of the vote, becoming Brazil’s first female president. The 62-year-old grandmother would take over her responsibilities as both the head of state and head of government of the South American country on Jan 1, 2011.

Rousseff has never before faced election for public office, and her victory was largely due to the economic successes of her mentor, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. After Lula became president in 2002, he named the ‘Iron Lady’ his energy minister and then, in 2005, his cabinet chief.

Rousseff, who was jailed and tortured by Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship, said her main goal is to eradicate poverty in the country after the Supreme Electoral Tribunal declared her the winner in Sunday’s runoff election.