Brazilian presidential candidate Dilma Rousseff faced few challenges in her final televised debate Thursday, and early reports are predicting an easy first-round victory for the 62-year-old former guerilla leader when the country's elections commence Sunday.
Well-known to Brazilians as President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's former chief of staff, Rousseff is clearly mindful of the wild popularity of her predecessor, often touting the Lula government's achievements in speeches and interviews. If she indeed sweeps to victory as Brazil's first female president this weekend, she would, in effect, outrank Germany's Angela Merkel and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the world's most powerful woman, according to The Independent.
"Women are ready to govern Brazil and, more importantly, Brazil is ready to be governed by a woman," Rousseff, a member of Lula's Workers Party (PT) is quoted by The Guardian as saying. After describing women are "sensible, practical and sensitive," she went on to note that "these are important qualities for someone who wants to govern a country."
The daughter of a Bulgarian immigrant and a teacher, Rousseff coordinated resistance activities and handled weapons as a member of an underground student resistance group in the 1960s, and was eventually arrested and tortured. Her guerilla-type background has drawn comparisons to former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, a single mother and pediatrician who survived exile during the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile before entering politics.
DILMA ROUSSEFF IN PHOTOS: