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Dilma Rousseff, elected first woman president of Brazil

- With 55 million votes and 12 points over her closest rival, the economist Dilma Rousseff, won the second round.

Rousseff defeated Social Democrat José Serra on Sunday’s runoff elections, by 56 to 44 percent of the 99.35% votes counted at that moment.

Thus, Rousseff replaces the charismatic President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in the Palacio do Planalto, with whom she was chief of staff and to whom she owes her nomination and, as a few observers noted, her victory.

The choice of Rousseff as candidate for Workers’ Party (PT), was a milestone in the head of state elections, which has been occupied by 39 men since the establishment of the Republic in 1889.

In the gallery of Brazilian presidents there are 19 lawyers and 15 soldiers, while five others have been a doctor, a journalist, an engineer, a sociologist and a metallurgist. Rousseff can now add a second landmark being also the first economist to arrive at the office.

Rousseff, 62, participated in an armed resistance against the military regime that ruled Brazil between 1964 and 1985, and therefore spent three years in prison.

Celebration in the capital

Rousseff voted Sunday morning at a school in the city of Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul (South), and was escorted by a crowd of supporters carrying flags and banners.

Serra, meanwhile, voted in a suburb of Sao Paulo and coming out of the poll expressed confidence in the outcome, although he preferred to make no further comments. For its part, Lula went to vote at a school in the municipality of Sao Bernardo do Campo (where he began his career as a union leader and where he keeps his home address), accompanied by his wife, Marisa, and political associates.

Onpon leaving the polling location, Lula told reporters that there was no chance of him participating in a possible Rousseff government, and criticized Serra, whom he blamed the aggressive tone that marked the campaign.