Written by Staff Writer
The former president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, was removed from office by the Senate in March last year. Following an extensive corruption investigation, she was charged and found guilty of obstruction of justice and breaking electoral laws. She was also convicted of seeking to cover up the operation of illicit funds. (During her time in office, the economy grew six times faster than it did under her successor, Michel Temer.) Here are the top five facts about her:
1. She was a labor lawyer before becoming Brazil’s first female president
As the daughter of a housemaid, Brazil’s first female president worked in the industries of her father — who was an accountant — and mother, an elementary school teacher. In 1970, she received her law degree and entered the social security ministry. In 1984, she and some colleagues started their own law firm and practiced for three years before she began her career as a senior law adviser in the ministry.
Read: What’s next for former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff?
She was elected to the lower house of the Brazilian Congress in 1995 before becoming the country’s first female president in 2010, after serving as president of the powerful lower house from 2003 to 2010.
2. She was a pioneer of impeachment procedures
In 2011, Rousseff was the first South American head of state to face impeachment proceedings after her approval rating fell below zero and amid growing discontent among the country’s middle classes. Two years later, she found herself impeached and suspended. Her impeachment was brought to a close when the Senate voted by 67-33 to vote against her.
3. Her last speech lasted 16 minutes
One of Rousseff’s final acts as president was to receive new presidential sashes from the Senate and House of Representatives. She spoke from the presidential podium with a torrent of thanks, recounting the progress her government had made during her time in office. But the speech didn’t last long, and she spoke just 16 minutes before leaving the podium.
Watch the video to hear more.
4. She had the worst approval rating in Latin America
According to the Venezuelan polling firm Datanalisis, Rousseff’s approval rating last year was an all-time low of just 13%. (The presidency of her predecessor, Lula da Silva, had the best approval ratings of any elected official in South America in 2017.) Despite her weak support, Rousseff was elected to a third consecutive term in 2014, defeating environmentalist Marina Silva with 50.04% of the vote.
5. She became the first woman to win the Brazilian presidency
Rousseff became the first woman in a country with a 239-year history to be elected president of Brazil in 2010. She was the 36th person to serve as Brazil’s president.