Dilma Rousseff wins Brazil's presidential election

Former Marxist rebel becomes the country's first female president.

Dilma Rousseff, a former Marxist rebel, has become the first female president in Brazil's history, succeeding Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Rousseff, 62, has never before held elected office. In this second round of voting, she won 56 per cent, compared to 44 for her rival José Serra.

The economist was the preferred successor of Lula, who enjoys record popularity after two terms. Thousands of supporters of the governing Worker's Party celebrated her victory in the streets.

Speaking at a victory rally, she said: "We cannot rest while Brazilians are going hungry, while families are living in the streets, while poor children are abandoned to their own fates and while crack and crack dens rule."

Rousseff was jailed and tortured in 1970-2 for resisting the country's military dictatorship. She said that the election of a woman was a sign of the country's democratic progress.