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Brazil's first woman president-elect vows to push for equality

Tuesday November 02, 2010 11:27:35 AM, EFE

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Economist Dilma Rousseff of the ruling Workers' Party (PT), Sunday became the first woman to win the Brazilian presidential election, garnering 55.92 percent of the total votes, with 98.55 percent of the 

Brasilia: Brazilian President-elect Dilma Rousseff has promised to guarantee freedom of the press and religion and to promote "equality between men and women", since all those things are "essential principles of democracy".

In her first speech after the confirmation of her solid victory in Sunday's presidential runoff, Rousseff said her election "is a demonstration of the advancement of the country, which for the first time will be led by a woman".

Rousseff, who had followed the vote count at her home in Brasilia, appeared before reporters Sunday night at a hotel in the capital.

With tears in her eyes, the 62-year-old economist said that the result at the ballot box had presented her with the "most important mission" of her life; she added, as the first of her promises to the nation, that she intended to "honour all women, so that this unprecedented occurrence of today multiplies itself" throughout society.

"I want for fathers and mothers to look at their daughters today and tell them that a woman can be president of Brazil," she said.

She also committed herself to the goal of "eradicating poverty", the journey toward which was begun by incumbent head of state Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, her political mentor, for whom she had special words of thanks and recognised him as "the best president Brazil has had".

Rousseff called upon "businessmen, workers, churches, the press and all good people" to cooperate with a government that will be "for everyone, without exception".

To the opposition, headed by defeated presidential hopeful Jose Serra, she said that she intends to extend her hand to them because she will be "the president of everyone, respecting differences of opinion".

She also promised to continue the fight against drugs and to promote a "fairer" international order at "a time in which the great economies of the world have been hit" by the global recession.

"It will be very important to have our own policies, our own market and our own economic decisions", but that will be "far from saying that we're going to close our country off from the world", she said.

"It's necessary, in the multilateral sphere, to establish much clearer and more cautious rules," Rousseff said.

Domestically, she promised to exercise fiscal discipline and adhere to the goals established by Lula's administration to lower inflation, and to the "rationalisation" of public spending, and she gave her assurance that she rejects "the visions of austerity that fall upon social programs or investments necessary for the good of the country".

Rousseff said she will seek "the long-term development of measures that are socially and environmentally sustainable" that that she will place her greatest effort into achieving "political reform that raises up republican values so as to advance democracy".

She also directed the closing words of her speech at the current president: "The emotion of this day mixes with that of the departure of Lula, whose door I will knock on when necessary, with the assurance that it will always be open."






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