Dilma Rousseff: timeline of Brazil’s former president

The former president of Brazil, who resigned on Sunday, has been surrounded by scandal since her 2013 election. Here is a quick roundup


Age: 64

Lives: Rio de Janeiro

Born: Lizinal do Cadiz, Brazil on 15 January 1950. The youngest of nine children, she is an accomplished pianist, poet and playwright. Her husband Paulo Sérgio de Figueiredo was a journalist and Brazil’s most successful investigative journalist. She was arrested, imprisoned and acquitted of the murder of Figueiredo’s father, a newspaper editor, and seven others.

Personal life

They married in 1981 after she was diagnosed with cancer, he with her sister. He persuaded her to have the treatment by telling her: “No one is worth more than you.” She survived the operation.

Dilma was the founding editor of the newspaper Ultima Hora and has written many books. Sérgio de Figueiredo runs a community centre in a slum, Rio Projeto Cristo, to help create jobs.


President Rousseff was agriculture minister in the 1990s under Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and, before becoming prime minister in 2003, the minister for social development. She ran on the ticket of the Workers’ party, led by Lula, who was president from 2003 to 2010. She won a landslide victory in 2009.


Infrastructure funding. Rousseff promised to raise the use of public transport in the slums and reduce bus fares by 15% as part of a plan to move Brazil’s many poor urban residents away from high-cost cars. Public protests against her raising taxes on fuel products forced her to backtrack and reduce the increase.

Sustainability. Rousseff angered environmentalists by introducing an environmental law that would have seen clear-cuts and relaxed environmental enforcement rules curbing hydroelectric dam construction. She rejected protests by environmentalists and pledges by environmental groups to sue the government for overstepping its legal mandate.

Economic crises. In late 2010, she warned of a tough 2017, saying inflation would hit above 11%, unemployment levels would be near 20% and the economy would contract by about 4.5% as a result of weak government spending. She came under criticism for blundering into bailouts for Aécio Neves, who lost the October election to João Doria.

Political career

Mrs Rousseff was elected mayor of Sao Paulo in 1998. Elected to Brazil’s second-highest elected office a year later, she was forced to resign after opposition to a multi-billion dollar Olympics preparations contract was found to have been favouritism. After two years of unsuccessful appeals, she was cleared of corruption charges last October.

She set up the São Paulo-based Socrates Institute in 1998, where she met two of the world’s leading politicians: Barack Obama and Yitzhak Rabin. In 2003, she took over as vice-president, becoming the first female leader of the country. She won the presidential election four years later.

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