Uruguayans head for 2nd round of presidential election

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 [Increase] [Normal] [Decrease] Uruguayans head for 2nd round of presidential election NewsLineToday    Gallery Enlarge Image Play Video

Manju Shukla
Date  30/11/2014

Presidential candidate Tabare Vazquez of the ruling Broad Front coalition is running against the center-right Luis Lacalle Pou.

Opinion polls show the leftist Vazquez is set to win Sunday’s run-off election. His contender has obtained just a little over 40 percent support in the polls.

Vazquez, who was elected president in 2005, stepped down in 2010 with approval ratings of 70 percent. However, he was unable to run for a second consecutive term.

The presidential candidate won a sweeping victory in the first round of voting on October 26, yet they fell just short of an outright triumph.

Vazquez, 74, has campaigned on the platform of battling poverty, improving education and working conditions, and expanding welfare coverage.

Pou, a 41-year-old lawyer and legislator who served as the president of the Chamber of Deputies in 2011, is considered a moderate conservative.

Incumbent President Jose Mujica, also of the Broad Front, did not run in the election, as the constitution barred him from participating for a second consecutive term.

It would be an unprecedented third term of office for the coalition.

The country of 3.3 million has a developing economy thanks largely to Mujica’s programs. Since 2005, the Uruguayan economy has grown an average 5.7 percent each year. The number of people living in poverty has declined sharply to 11.5 percent from more than a third in 2006.

The outgoing Uruguayan President Mujica said in a recent interview 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,” said the president, adding that “They defend the government, because things were better for them. It’s that simple. There’s no magic wand here.”

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