Uruguay will go to the polls on Sunday in the second round of the presidential election. Former President Tabare Vazquez looked set to win by a comfortable margin with surveys showing him commanding a 14-point lead. This is thanks to the national affection for outgoing President Jose ‘Pepe’ Mujica and a decade of healthy economic growth.
Seventy-four-year-old Tabar Vazquez, the country’s first-ever leftist president, held the position from 2005 to 2010. Vazquez is set to return to office and continue the coalition’s work of the past ten years.
“If we respect the project of the our party, the 21st century will be the century of the Broad Front and the dreams of the Uruguayan people,” Vazquez said.
It would be an unprecedented third term of office for the coalition. Victory would also place Uruguay alongside Brazil and Bolivia in reelecting left leaning governments this year. The outgoing Uruguayan President, Jos Mujica, told CCTV America that there is a simple explanation for this trend.
“It is a political reaction of the great majority of marginalized people, who realize they have benefitted,” the president said. “They defend the government, because things were better for them. It’s that simple. There’s no magic wand here.”
Mujica’s government earned headlines around the world after the legalization of marijuana, same-sex marriage, and abortion.
Despite criticism over declining standards in education and an increase in crime, it is poverty reduction and a growing economy that have given the Broad Front the advantage in these elections.
The center-right National Party candidate, 41-year-old Luis Lacalle Pou, took 30 percent in the first round of voting in October, but has been unable to close the gap.
“When you run into a neighbor from the Broad Front you understand what he feels, what he believes, what he is going to defend. Tell him: ‘I wish you luck but a bit more for myself,” Pou said.
Campaigning has been subdued since the first round of elections held in October. Few surprises are expected as Uruguay appears set to vote for continuity on Sunday.
Uruguay's first leftist president leads in run-off election pollsUruguay will go to the polls on Sunday in the second round of the presidential election. Former President Tabare Vazquez looks set to win by a comfortable margin with surveys showing him commanding a 14-point lead. This is thanks to the national affection for outgoing President Jos 'Pepe' Mujica and a decade of healthy economic growth. CCTV America's Joel Richards reported the story from Montevideo, Uruguay.
CCTV America’s Joel Richards reported the story from Montevideo, Uruguay.
Luis Fleischman discusses Uruguay’s presidential run-off
CCTV America interviewed Luis Fleischman for more on the run-off election. He’s an author on Latin America and teaches sociology and political science at Florida Atlantic University.