Dilma Rousseff elected Brazil's first female president

Handout photo released by Brazilian presidential candidate for the ruling Workers' Party (PT) Dilma Rousseff's Press Office of her posing with a north Brazilian traditional hat during a rally in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on September 26, 2010. Rousseff has widened her lead over her nearest rival according to a poll released September 21, 2010. The survey, by the Sensus institute, suggested Rousseff had 50.5 percent support among voters -- enough to win the October 3 election outright without a runoff.


STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Brazil has elected its first female president. And come the first of the year, political newcomer Dilma Rousseff will take the reins of one of the world's fastest growing economies.

The BBC's Paulo Cabral joins us from Sao Paulo with the story. Hi Paulo.

PAULO CABRAL: Hello Steve.

CHIOTAKIS: How economically significant is Rousseff's election for the United States, and the rest of the world, for that matter?

CABRAL: Well, actually it's as significant as the fact that Lula da Silva, one of the most popular presidents in the world -- the man as Barack Obama has said once is leaving, now, the presidency of this country. And actually Dilma Rousseff has promised to continue the work of Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, and he has brought quite a lot of economic growth to Brazil over the last eight years. You know Dilma Rousseff was Lula da Silva's Chief of Staff, and among her main duties was to take care of Brazilian infrastructure of development of this Brazilian infrastructure. So that is an initial which is extremely important right now in Brazil, and that she's very much a cross it so that could be one of her main tasks.

CHIOTAKIS: She's a former leftist-militant. Do we know how that's going to influence her economic policies?

CABRAL: Actually Dilma Rousseff could be described more as a pragmatic developmentalist and of course leftist in the sense that she supports a strong presence of the state in the economy -- strong regulation and strong social policies, universal health care, all of these kinds of things. But most of all she wants Brazil to do business with the rest of the world. With terms that will be positive for the country.

CHIOTAKIS: The BBC's Paulo Cabral joining us from Sao Paulo. Paulo, thank you.

CABRAL: Thank you Steve.


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