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Dilma Rousseff gets narrow win in Brazil


Dilma Rousseff gets narrow win in Brazil

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Left-leaning President Dilma Rousseff was re-elected today in the tightest race Brazil has seen since its return to democracy three decades ago, giving the juggernaut Workers’ Party its fourth-straight presidential victory and the chance to extend its social transformation of the globe’s fifth-largest country.

Rousseff took 51.6 per cent of the votes and centre-right challenger Aecio Neves had 48.4 per cent, with almost all ballots counted. The result reflected a nation deeply divided after what many called the most acrimonious campaign since the return to democracy, with charges of corruption, nepotism and ample personal barbs thrown by both sides.

The re-elected leader faces an immense challenge of reigniting a stalled economy, improving woeful public services that ignited huge anti-government protests last year, and trying to push political reforms through a highly fragmented congress where the governing coalition has less support than it did four years ago.

Speaking in front of a banner that read “New Government, New Ideas” and a giant photo of Rousseff from her days as a militant who fought against Brazil’s long military regime, she thanked her supporters, starting with her political mentor and predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who picked her to take his place in 2010.

Rousseff sounded a conciliatory tone, saying during the live broadcast that she understood the heightened demands of Brazilians.

“That’s why I want to be a much better president than I have been until now,” she said.

During the Workers’ Party time in power, the government has enacted expansive social programs that have helped pull millions of Brazilians out of poverty and into the middle class, transforming the lives of the poor.

But the globe’s seventh-largest economy has underperformed since 2011, with some fearing it could put the social gains at risk.