Uruguay has been voting in presidential elections today. Having overseen the past 5 years major change in his country, the 79-year old president, Jose Mujica, will stand down. Under Mujica, Uruguay has become known for its socially progressive polices. Although the governing coalition appeared was set for a victory, polls suggested it could go down to a second round of head-to-head vote next month. CCTV America’s Joel Richards reports from Montevideo.
The capital city of Uruguay, Montevideo, awash with flags as parties running for office wrestle for visibility.
The compulsory vote will determine who replaces the outgoing Jose Mujica, the former guerrilla whose leftist social policies, including legalization of marijuana and abortion, made news around the world. Mujica, arriving at a polling station in his trademark, Volkswagen Beetle. He can’t serve a second consecutive term, because the constitution forbids it.
Former president Tabare Vazquez hopes to return to the office. He occupied from the year 2005 to 2010. “Today we have a different Uruguay, one in which people are happier, more trusting and more hopeful.” he said.
That trend should favor the coalition, but the national front candidate, 41-year-old Luis Lacalle Pou, gained more support in recent weeks. It is not enough to win the election, but enough to prevent Vazquez from getting the 50 percent he needs to win the presidency.
“We’ll wait for the results tonight calmly, in the same way that we carried out our campaign. We haven’t raised our voice.” Luis Lacalle Pou from National Party said.
With Pedro Bordaberry, who is from the Colorado party, is also attracting votes, few political analysts expect a first round victory for the coalition.
There has been much to consider in these elections. Candidates and voters alike discussed the extent to which socially progressive policies, including marijuana legalization, would continue. If Vazquez fails to win this time around, Uruguay will hold a runoff election on November 30th.