Rousseff Sworn in as Brazil’s First Female President

By Dialogo
January 04, 2011

Dilma Rousseff was sworn in as Brazil’s first female president Saturday, January 1st, in a ceremony which saw her take over from hugely popular leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Rousseff, Lula’s 63-year-old former cabinet chief, assumed the presidency in Brazil’s Congress after a short motorcade ride under steady rain during which she waved to an estimated 70,000 well-wishers lining Brasilia’s streets.

She swore an oath to the lawmakers before signing official documents making her Brazil’s head of state.

The new leader then gave her first speech to the nation as president.

She swore she would protect the most vulnerable in Brazil’s society and “govern for all.”

She also paid homage to Lula, saying she had been honored to serve under him and pledged to maintain her predecessor’s “victories.”

Rousseff, wearing a white skirt outfit and looking relaxed and happy, was to go from the Congress to the presidential palace, where Lula would be waiting to give her the green-and-gold presidential sash and Latin American presidents were to welcome her.

Lula, who was required to step down after serving the maximum two consecutive terms permitted under Brazil’s constitution, threw his formidable popularity and charisma into getting Rousseff elected his successor.

He has not said what he plans to do in retirement, though he commented weeks ago that he was a “natural born politician” who would not rule out maybe trying to return to the presidency after Rousseff’s four-year mandate was over.