Rio De Janeiro: Brazil's leftist President Dilma Rousseff called for national unity after winning reelection in a bitterly fought race that divided the country.
"I call on all Brazilians without exception to unite for the future of the country," she told supporters in a victory speech yesterday in Brasilia after fending off center-right challenger Aecio Neves to win a second four-year term.
"I don't think this election has divided the country in two. They unleashed conflicting ideas, but with the shared desire for a better future for the country," she said, beside her popular predecessor and mentor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
"This president is open to dialogue. This is the top priority of my second term."
Rousseff fought a tough -- at times virulently personal -- campaign against Neves, fending off the business-world favorite's accusations of economic mismanagement.
Many Brazilians remain loyal to her Workers' Party (PT) for 12 years of landmark gains against poverty.
But the newly teeming middle class is also frustrated with corruption, recession, inflation and poor public services.
"I want to be a much better president than I have been to date," Rousseff said.
"Some words dominated this campaign. The most frequently uttered was change. The most common theme was reform.
"I have been reelected president to make the major changes Brazilians are demanding."
She said her top priority would be political reform, and also vowed to crack down on corruption -- a central issue in the campaign after a multi-billion-dollar embezzlement scandal broke at state oil giant Petrobras, implicating dozens of her allies.