On New Years Day, Brazil inaugurated a new president Dilma Rousseff, the country’s first woman to occupy its highest office.
Rousseff has been dubbed by some as the most powerful woman in the world, given Brazil’s growing influence in global political and economic spheres (and the lack of other female premiers among the most powerful nations).
Chief-of-staff to ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s chief of staff, Rousseff was the outgoing chief executive’s hand-picked successor to head the PT party ticket during the 2010 election. She defeated former minister of health and Sao Paulo state Governnor Jose Serra (PSDB) in a run-off.
Lula left office as one of the most popular politicians on Earth, with an approval rating in Brazil nearing 80 percent. Rousseff has pledged to carry on her mentor’s highly touted social programs, which lifted millions of Brazilians out of poverty since 2003. She also promised to slow government spending in a move to limit inflation.
A former leftist guerilla subjected to torture under Brazil’s military dictatorships, Rousseff will see the country through the 2014 World Cup and, pending reelection, possibly the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.