SAO PAULO — A former Marxist guerrilla who was tortured and imprisoned during Brazil's long dictatorship was elected Sunday as president of Latin America's biggest nation, a country in the midst of an economic and political rise.
A statement from the Supreme Electoral Court, which oversees elections, said governing party candidate Dilma Rousseff won the election. When she takes office Jan. 1, she will be Brazil's first female leader.
With 99 percent of the ballots counted, Rousseff had 55.6 percent compared to 44.4 percent for her centrist rival, Jose Serra, the electoral court said.
"I'm very happy. I want to thank all Brazilians for this moment and I promise to honor the trust they have shown me," Rousseff told reporters who swarmed a car carrying her in Brasilia, her first public words as president-elect.
She will lead a nation on the rise, a country that will host the 2014 World Cup and that is expected to be the globe's fifth-largest economy by the time it hosts the 2016 Summer Olympics. It has also recently discovered huge oil reserves off its coast.
Rousseff was already speaking like a president-elect before the result was announced.
"Starting tomorrow we begin a new stage of democracy," Rousseff, 62, said in the southern city of Porto Alegre, where she cast her vote. "I will rule for everyone, speak with all Brazilians, without exception."