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Iran Press TV

Mujica, Uruguay's champion of the poor, steps down

Iran Press TV

Sun Mar 1, 2015 10:54PM

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, commonly known as the world's poorest president, has stepped down from his post after five years of ruling the country under his spartan style.

Mujica's five year term in office finished Sunday after Tabare Vazquez was sworn in as Uruguay's new president in the capital Montevideo.

The 79-year old Mujica, who left office with a high approval rate, enjoyed huge public support during his reign with his spartan lifestyle and popular policies being the most relishing. He insisted on living in his farm instead of the luxurious presidential mansions and he kept driving an outdated Volkswagen Beetle despite a $1 million offer from an Arab sheikh to buy the car.

He also gave around 90 percent of his salary to charity, saying that he simply does not need it.

Vazquez, the winner of a presidential run-off in November, is assuming the post for the second time. He was president of Uruguay from 2005 to 2010 and many expect him to revise some of the controversial laws adopted by Mujica.

Among the controversial laws, there is the legalization of marijuana, whose full implementation needs the approval of the new president.

The two colleagues at the Broad Front (FA) party have reportedly clashed over some major issues over the past months. In his inauguration Sunday, Vazquez called for a serious dialogue on major issues that faces the country.

"We can and we must analyze and dialogue respectfully together on the different paths to achieve the best public education for our people, to have quality health care for all, dignified housing," Vasquez said at the country's National Assembly.

Despite criticism about his policies, Mujica claims to have lifted Uruguay out of its state of bewilderedness. During his time, the country of 3.4 million was turned to an energy-exporting nation while global data also suggests that Uruguay's economy has grown steadily over Mujica's years.


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