Brazil's left-leaning President Dilma Rousseff was re-elected yesterday in the tightest race the nation has seen since its return to democracy three decades ago, batting down a pro-business candidate's strong showing in a bitterly fought campaign. With 99.5% of the ballots counted, Rousseff, the Workers' Party candidate, had 51.6% of the votes; challenger Aecio Neves had 48.4%. Speaking in front of a banner that read "New Government, New Ideas" and had a giant photo of Rousseff from her days as a militant who fought against Brazil's long military regime, the leader thanked her supporters.
"My dears, my friends, we have arrived at the end of a campaign that intensely mobilized all the forces of this country," Rousseff said. "I thank every Brazilian, without exception." The victory extends the rule of her party, which has held the presidency since 2003. During that time, they've 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 leader now faces the daunting task of sparking a moribund economy that's underperformed since 2011, with some fearing it could put the social gains at risk.