Rousseff first woman to win Brazil’s presidential election (Lead, changing dateline)

November 2nd, 2010 - 12:05 am ICT by IANS  

Brasilia, Nov 1 (IANS/EFE) Economist Dilma Rousseff of the ruling Workers’ Party (PT), Sunday became the first woman to win the Brazilian presidential election, garnering 55.92 percent of the total votes, with 98.55 percent of the ballots counted.

Her rival Jose Serra, of the opposition Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB), pulled in 44.09 percent of the ballots in the runoff election, said Ricardo Lewandowski, Presidnt of the Superior Electoral Tribunal, or TSE.

Lewandowski said that Rousseff’s 11.9 percent advantage over Serra made it impossible for Serra to catch up and snatch away the presidency, even though all the votes had not yet been counted.

About 55 million Brazilians voted for Rousseff, with about 43 million casting their ballots for Serra.

Serra had earlier run for the presidency in 2002, losing on that occasion to now outgoing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is the mentor of Rousseff, 62.

In 2002, Lula garnered 61.4 percent of the votes to Serra’s 38.6 percent. The 65-year-old president is barred from serving more than two consecutive terms.

“I have no doubt that she (Rousseff) is going to make a great government for this country,” Lula told reporters after casting his ballot in Sao Bernardo do Campo, an industrial city in the Sao Paulo metro area.

Rousseff voted in the southern city of Porto Alegre.

“Tomorrow, a new phase of democracy begins and the people who assume the leadership of the country will have to have republican sense and democratic sense to govern for everyone,” Rousseff told reporters earlier in the day, before the vote count.

In the first round of voting Oct 3, Rousseff had already won 46.91 percent of the vote to Serra’s 32.61 percent. Rousseff will take charge in January.

–IANS/EFE
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