by Moses Apsan, Esq.
October 31, 2010 - It’s finally official. Dilma Rousoff has been elected as the first female president of Brazil. She thrashed José Serra of the opposition centrist PSDB in a second-round run-off today, Sunday, winning 56 per cent of the vote.
Dilma, who has never had any elected political office was a long time government bureaucrat and was President Lula’s chief of staff and energy minister. Many analysts concur that it wasn't Workers' Party candidate Dilma’s speech-making ability, her proposals or record that provided her with victory. What made the difference was the support from her mentor and predecessor President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has an amazing approval rating of more than 80 per cent. He made it his main concern during his last year in office to get Dilma elected.
Lula had dedicated much of the last several weeks campaigning for Dilma, who served him as chief of staff and energy minister. At his 65th birthday celebration Wednesday, he asked voters to give him Dilma's victory as a present.
The opposition did better in this year’s election for state and federal assemblies and for the post of state governors. And although Serra’s campaign lost, the opposition remained unified. Now that Serra’s presidential aspirations are gone, Aécio Neves, the young and charming governor of Minas Gerais state, is ready to come forward.
Luckily for Dilma, she will enter office on the peak of the strongest economic progress in two decades, the nation's lowest unemployment rate on record and an even stronger congressional popularity than Lula had.
Brazil finds itself with vast road and rail network challenges to support its speedy economic growth. Inflation is an ever present danger in Brazil, and her supervision of the economy will come under intense examination. Dilma will also have to choose whether to preserve the military increase begun under Lula
Dilma Rousseff, 62, is the daughter of a schoolteacher mother and a Bulgarian immigrant father. During her period as a college student, Dilma joined an urban guerrilla group called National Liberation Command to oppose the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985. To many she is consider a patriot and a hero because of the torture she endured during the early 70’s when she was jailed for her political activism.