Brazil’s left-leaning President Dilma Rousseff was re-elected Sunday in the tightest race the nation has seen since its return to democracy three decades ago, after a bitter campaign that divided Brazilians like no other before it. With 99 percent of the vote counted, Rousseff had 51.5 percent of the ballots, topping center-right challenger Aecio Neves with 48.5 percent. Rousseff’s victory extends the rule of the Workers’ 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.
The choice between Rousseff and Neves split Brazilians into two camps — those who thought only the president would continue to protect the poor and advance social inclusion versus those who were certain that only the contender’s market-friendly economic policies could see Brazil return to solid growth.
The Workers’ Party’s time in power has seen a profound transformation in Brazil. But four straight years of weak economic growth under Rousseff, with an economy that’s now in a technical recession, has some worried those gains are under threat.