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Dilma Rousseff has been sworn in as Brazil's first female president, capping a rapid political trajectory for the career technocrat and former Marxist rebel who was imprisoned and tortured during the nation's long military dictatorship.
The 63-year-old takes the helm of Latin America's largest nation, which has risen both financially and politically on the world stage under outgoing leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
After signing the oath of office in Brazil's Congress alongside Vice-President Michel Temer, Rousseff travelled to the presidential palace where Lula removed his presidential sash and placed it over her head as thousands of onlookers cheered.
Lula, always emotional, cried, hugged several ministers, aides and others, as he made his way to a car that took him to the airport and on to his private home near Sao Paulo.
"Coexisting with President Lula all these years gave me a greater understanding of how to be a fair leader," Roussef in a speech during the ceremony.
Lula leaves office as the nation's most popular president with an approval rating that hit 87 per cent in his last week in office. His social programmes and wealth redistribution helped pull 20 million people out of poverty.
The country was on the brink of a sovereign default in 2002, it now lends money to the International Monetary Fund. Unemployment is at a record low, its currency has more than doubled against the dollar and the nation will host the 2016 Olympics.
The external economic scenario could worsen, cutting into strong demand for Brazil's agricultural and industrial exports, particularly if anything should dampen China's growing appetite for Brazil's goods.