Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil profile - Leaders

President: Dilma Rousseff (suspended)

Image copyright Getty Images

Dilma Rousseff became Brazil's first woman president in 2010.

She was chief of staff to her predecessor, president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and his favoured successor.

A career civil servant, Ms Rousseff was little known until Mr Lula selected her as his successor after a number of high-profile candidates were forced out by corruption scandals during his time in office. She had joined the government in 2003 as energy minister, and backed the policy of the governing Workers' Party to favour a strong state role in banking, the oil industry, and energy.

She faced her first major challenge a few years into her first term of office, when in 2013 people took to the streets to protest at corruption, poor public services, and the cost of staging the 2014 football World Cup.

After winning re-election in 2014, she pledged to devote her second term to economic recovery, tackling corruption, and investing in social development.

But a series of allegations about her chairmanship of the state oil company Petrobras and misuse of election funds, all of which she denies, soon plunged her presidency into crisis.

In 2016, Congress voted overwhelmingly to impeach her and in May she was suspended from her post pending trial. She strongly denies the allegation that she sought to conceal the size of Brazil's budget deficit during her 2014 election campaign and accuses her opponents of launching a "coup d'etat" against her.

Dilma Rousseff was born in 1947 the daughter of a Bulgarian immigrant father, and grew up in an upper middle class family in Belo Horizonte.

She joined the left-wing underground resistance to the military dictatorship that seized power in 1964, but denies ever being involved in armed operations.

In 1970 she was jailed for three years and reportedly tortured, and was released at the end of 1972.

More on this story