Brazil Elects First Female President

Dilma Rousseff became the first female president elect of Brazil on Sunday, beating out her opponent, José Serra, the former governor of São Paulo, with 56 percent of the vote.

Rousseff was the chief of staff and energy minister for previous president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Rousseff has no previous political experience, but Brazilian voters showed their support for Lula's Workers Party by electing her. Brazil has seen remarkable economic growth and stability since Lula took power in 2003. Rousseff was hand-picked by Lula to be his successor and campaigned relentlessly for her.

“If it were only about experience I would never vote for her,” Denilson Quintino, 43, a local Brazilian electrician told the NY Times. “But she has a good team behind her. Today the country is much better off because of the Lula government.”

She joins Michelle Bachelet of Chile and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina in a recent wave of democratically elected female leaders in South America.

For more on the rise of women in power across Latin America, click here.