"Mother of Brazil" daring to confront critical challenges

15:46, November 17, 2010      

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Brazil’s ruling party candidate Dilma Rousssef has won the 2010 the presidential election and become the first female president of Latin America’s biggest economy. She will succeed President Lula da Silva as the leader of the biggest L.A. country on January 1 next year.

Ms. Roussef remained unknown until becoming Lula’s chief of staff in 2005, a position she held until resigning earlier this year to campaign. With ups and downs over the past half century, she was an urban guerrilla who fought the military dictatorship with arms in the 60s of the 20th century and, in 1970, she was jailed and tortured during the years of military dictatorship. After her released in late 1972 she studied economics and went on to become a career civil servant. She joined the Workers’Party (PT) in 2001; President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was impressed with her knowledge and experience in the energy sector and appointed her Minister of Mines and Energy.

During his term of office as energy minister, Dilma enhanced the state management of the energy industry and reserves and increased the proportion of the state-owned economic sector. Owing to her influence, the Brazilian government has thrown more investment to accelerate the supply of electric power, so it became accessible to most residents in outlying areas, and she also subsidize accesses to electricity for the vulnerable social groups. Moreover, she worked to improve the state-owning rate of oil drilling platforms and to create additional tens of thousands of jobs; she also spurred the establishment of a special development fund with oil revenues to be spent on education, healthcare and other development projects.

Dilma has also involved herself in leading economic decisions-making, taking charge of the competent "accelerated development plan,”which is designed to spend a multi-billion dollars on infrastructure upgrades. With her rise in politics, she was appointed the“chief of staff”in the presidential office. President Lula da Silva appreciated her courage in the face of situations and her extraordinary ability to resolve problems, and cited her as the“Mother of Brazil”.

As Lula’s “hand-picked”successor, Dilma has won the support of voters as they believe she has both resolve and ability to adhere to President Lula’s policy principles after coming to power. Brazil has undergone the longest cycle of economic boom because of implementing the Lula government’s policy principles for socio-economic development. Meanwhile, Lula’s serial social programs have helped improve the livelihoods of millions of the world’s poorest. During Lula’s eight-year administration, 20 million Brazilians have been lifted out of abject poverty, and 29 million others entered the ranks of Social call C (lower middle class). Ms. Rouseff has been President Lula’s former cabinet chief, and polls show voters thank almost entirely to the support from Lula, who was leaving office with a spectacular popularity rating of over 80 percent.

Dilma Roussef is a staunch supporter of Lula’s market friendly policies, In the presidential race, she pledged her continued support to Lula’s policies to improve the quality of economic growth, her commitment to addressing poverty and more input in the development of extractive industries, education and health care, etc. Datafolha, the most reputable of the polling firms in Brazil, had Roussef with 51 percent voters support versus rival Jose Serra’s 41 percent.

Dilma has also advocated for beefing up the role of state regulation in certain strategic sectors. She insists that it is imperative to back up Petrobras, the Brazilian Economic and Social Development Bank and other state-owned enterprises as they have played a vital, important role in the global financial crisis.

Brazilians have chosen Dilma Roussef and there are still some voices in doubt at home about her governing capability however. Her ruling status is based on multi-political parties in the ruling coalition cabinet but her influence is far less than that of her processor Lula within the Workers Party. So, people are still waiting to see whether she is able to adhere to the“Lula Doctrine” and carry forward economic development as the Brazilian people have long aspired.

By People’s Daily Online and its author is PD overseas resident reporter Wang Peng.


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