Factbox: Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's first woman president

BRASILIA Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:08pm EDT

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's first woman president, is a former leftist militant who rose through the ranks of the Workers' Party and now leads one of the world's fastest-growing emerging economies.

Here are some facts about the 63-year-old Rousseff:

* Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva plucked Rousseff from relative obscurity two years ago to be his party's chosen candidate in last year's election, citing her managerial experience and technical capacity.

* The daughter of a well-to-do Bulgarian immigrant, Rousseff was born into a middle-class family and did post-graduate studies in economics.

* After a 1964 coup gave rise to a military dictatorship, which enjoyed support from Washington, Rousseff joined a radical left-wing resistance group. She says she never engaged in armed conflict but was imprisoned for three years on charges of subversion and repeatedly tortured by her military captors.

* Rousseff proposes a mix of market-friendly policies with a strong role for the state in economic development, particularly in the energy sector as Brazil develops massive new offshore oil fields in the coming decade.

* She is widely seen as having made a competent start to her presidency, dealing effectively with divisions in her ruling coalition and pushing through about $30 billion in budget cuts following heavy election-year spending.

* One of the earliest crises facing Rousseff's presidency is a wave of cheap Chinese imports that has caused major problems for Brazilian manufacturers. Rousseff has ordered her economic team to pursue targeted tariff increases and greater use of anti-dumping measures to try to stop the flow.

* Rousseff was treated for lymphoma cancer in 2009 and briefly wore a wig as she underwent chemotherapy. She has been given a clean bill of health by her doctors.

(Editing by Kieran Murray)