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Uruguay - 2014 Election

The two-round presidential election in October and November 2014 was won convincingly by the EP-FAs Tabar Vzquez, who would serve as President from 2015 to 2020. The 75-year-old oncologist (cancer doctor), who served as president from 2005 to 2010, takes the reigns from the highly popular Jose Mujica, a former guerilla fighter known for his humble lifestyle.

Both Vazquez, who lacks Mujica's folksy charisma, and Mujica belong to the leftist Broad Front Coalition which has been in power for a decade. Both Jose Mujica and Tabare Vazquez belong to a generation of left-wing leaders that govern many nations across the region, presenting a new challenge to the foreign policy of the United States and the orthodox free-market reforms it espouses.

One of his key electoral promises was to increase education spending to by 1.5 percent to 6 percent of GDP and the introduction of a Nordic style health system to further improve the access to health care for all. He also pledged to tackle high inflation, lower taxes, and develop infrastructure and rail transport and advance Uruguay's environmental sustainability.

Vzquez, a respected medical practitioner and successful politician, served one previous term as President of Uruguay in 2005-2010. He created a specialized therapy center where he continues to work and also founded a polyclinic and a soup kitchen that is still in operation. An avid soccer fan, he was president of the Progreso Club and led the team to the third vision in the national championships of 1989.

He made history because he was the first Broad Front politician and broke the previously reigning two-party system between the National Party and the Colorado Party, both who had dominated Uruguayan politics since 1830. Soon after the election, Vzquez announced his Cabinet line-up. Vzquezs ministeral choices suggested he will maintain Uruguays largely business-friendly economic policies.

Vazquez won comfortably with 52.8 percent support while his center-right challenger, Luis Lacalle Pou, trailed on 40.5 percent. Lacalle Pou, 41, had threatened to repeal much of the legislation gay marriage and abortion as well as marijuana if he was elected president, but he struggled to connect with working-class and rural voters.

The Broad Front narrowly won a majority in Congress in legislative elections last month, meaning Vazquez will be in firm control when his term began on 01 March 2015. Vice-President Raul Sendic, who had served as vice president since March 2015, was accused in September 2017 of using funds from Uruguay's state-owned oil company Ancap to shop for personal items, including clothing, jewelry and electronics, Infobae reported. A local magazine published an article detailing those expenses.

After the expenses were disclosed, Sendic participated in internal Broad Front judiciary meetings to evaluate his alleged misuse of Ancap's credit card. He served as vice president of the oil company between 2005 and 2009 and president between 2009 and 2013. The Broad Front subsequently ruled against him, pointing out that "the general picture of the acts outlined leaves no doubt about declaring unacceptable the personal use of public money."

President Tabare Vazquez said he did not request the resignation of Vice President Sendic, calling the move "a personal matter." Lucia Topolansky, wife of former President Jose Mujica, was selected to replace Sendic as vice president shortly after he resigned.





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