Rousseff sworn in as Brazil's first female president

13:06, January 02, 2011      

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Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff waves to supporters outside Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, on Jan. 1, 2011. Dilma Rousseff was sworn as Brazil's first female President Saturday at the National Congress in Brasilia. (Xinhua/Agencia Estado)

Dilma Rousseff was sworn as Brazil 's first female president Saturday at the National Congress in Brasilia, taking over from Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva who had served the biggest South American country for eight years.

Rousseff was sworn in by Senate President Jose Sarney at a solemn ceremony. Michel Temer, 60, also took the oath of office as vice president.

Rousseff and Temer pledged to "maintain, defend and enforce the Federal Constitution, to observe laws, to promote general welfare to the Brazilian people and to sustain Brazil's union, integrity and independence."

Foreign dignitaries attending the ceremony included Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Portugal's Prime Minister Jose Socrates.

In her first speech as president, Rousseff promised to consolidate the work of Lula da Silva's government, saying that the "ultimate commitment" of her government will be "to honor the women, to protect the most fragile and govern for all."

She said the outgoing president led the Brazilian people to trust themselves and that "to believe in the power of the people is the greatest lesson that President Lula leaves for us."

Among the achievements of the past eight years, she mentioned the reduction of "our historic social debt, rescuing millions of Brazilians from the tragedy of poverty and allowing millions to reach the middle class."

She pledged to conduct a political reform to "advance our young democracy and to ensure economic stability, especially on prices, as a condition to continue our current growth cycle."

Rousseff also stated that a reform of the tax system, the improvement of industrial park and agriculture in the country are "urgent" to support both major exporters of the sector and family farming.

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