On Jan 1, 2011, Dilma Rousseff was sworn in as Brazil's first female president, in what many considered a referendum to continue the social and economic policies of her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Mr. da Silva had appointed Ms. Rousseff to be his chief of staff and is thought to have hand-picked her as his successor as well.
Ms. Rousseff wasn't the first female president from South America, that honor had already been taken by Eva Peron. What is noteworthy is that she was the latest in a growing swell of female world leaders elected in recent years. Not only does this list include Ms. Rousseff, but also Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina, Michelle Bachelet of Chile and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.
In what is perceived as voters having sent the message that they preferred giving the governing Workers Party more time to broaden the successful economic policies of Mr. da Silva, Ms. Rousseff, who has no elected political experience, is expected to continue the policies that lifted millions of Brazilians out of poverty and into the lower middle classes.
In June of 2011, her top adviser resigned under suspicious of scandal and as a result, some are now questioning the strength and stability of her administration. Ms. Rousseff's handling of the scandal is viewed as having been too passive a reaction and seems to have affected her popularity.