Brazil's left-wing President Dilma Rousseff re-elected

Ms Rousseff’s Workers’ Party has been in power since 2003

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The Independent US

Brazil's left-wing President Dilma Rousseff has been re-elected after narrowly beating centrist rival Aecio Neves.

Ms Rousseff was declared the winner after receiving 51.5 per cent of the vote, compared to Mr Neve’s 48.5 per cent, with about 99 per cent of the ballots counted.

Ideli Salvatti, one of her ministers, said the Government would try to create “a national reconciliation process given how tight the result was”, Reuters reported.

“We have to calm our hearts down first and then get back to work tomorrow,” she added.

Ms Rousseff’s Workers’ Party has been in power since 2003, but the country has been hit by an economic slowdown over the last four years that had threatened to oust her from office. Numerous corruption scandals, high inflation and complaints about poor public services like health care have also tarnished the Government’s image.

However, voters appeared to have been swayed by its overall record on improving the lives of the poorest in one of the most unequal countries in the world.

Some 40 million people are no longer living poverty and unemployment has been cut to record lows.

“We need Dilma to continue the programs that improve the lives of those in need," said Livia Roma, 19, a university student in Sao Paulo, as she voted on Sunday. "I didn't vote for myself, but for the minorities and less fortunate classes."

Paula Canongia, a 34-year-old hotel owner, told the Associated Press that she voted for Mr Neves, who stood on a more pro-business platform, because of “the current state of our country”.

“He's not an ideal candidate, far from it ... but we desperately need change and hopefully he can provide that,” she said.

Michael Shifter, president of the Washington-based Inter-American Dialogue, said: “Brazilians want it all. They are worried about the economy being sluggish and stagnant but they want to preserve social gains that have been made.”

Electoral officials said voting appeared to have gone smoothly, although  there was a shooting at a polling station in a school in Rio Grande do Norte state. Police said the incident appeared to be gang-related.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.