Dilma Rousseff calls for unity after winning Brazil elections

2014-10-27 09:46

Rio de Janeiro – Brazil’s leftist President Dilma Rousseff narrowly won re-election to a second term, calling for unity after the most divisive race since the return to democracy in 1985.

Rousseff, the first woman president of the world’s seventh-largest economy, took 51.64%of the vote to 48.36% for business favourite Aecio Neves, election officials said with more than 99% of ballots counted.

After a vitriolic campaign that largely split the country between the poor north and wealthier south, Rousseff crucially picked up enough middle-class votes in the industrialised southeast to cement a fourth straight win for her Workers’ Party (PT).

The 66-year-old, a former leftist guerrilla who was jailed and tortured for fighting the 1964-1985 dictatorship, called for unity. And she promised dialogue to give Brazil the changes she said that she knows voters want.

“This president is open to dialogue. This is the top priority of my second term,” she told supporters in the capital Brasilia, clad in white beside two-term predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

After four years of sluggish economic growth culminating in recession this year, she admitted her own report card had to improve and vowed to combat corruption.

“I want to be a much better president than I have been to date,” she said, issuing “a call for peace and unity” after a bitter campaign of low blows and mutual recriminations.

Neves, a 54-year-old senator, said he had called Rousseff to congratulate her.

“I told her the priority should be to unite Brazil,” he told disappointed supporters in Belo Horizonte, where he served two terms as governor of Minas Gerais state.

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