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Uruguay - 2019 Election

The Broad Front, Uruguay's governing left-wing coalition, took an early but narrow lead ahead of the country's general elections, which are scheduled for October 2019. In a poll published by Equipos 25 May 2018, the coalition captured 31 percent of the support of likely voters.

The National Party, the Broad Front's main legislative opposition, was second in the poll with 28 percent with the Colorado Party third on eight percent. Six percent of citizens divided their support among other opposition parties while 22 percent citizens stated they were undecided. According to Equipos the structure of preferences remains stable, with two parties fighting for the first place (the Broad Front and the National Party) at around 30 percent.

The percentage of undecided voters shows that the publics power to decide is not mature yet, the polling company explained. Uruguayans have over a year to head to the polls. Although in politics a year and a half is a lot of time, the remaining parties start at a position from which they will need to grow in a powerful way if they want to have a chance in the elections," the polling agency added.

The surveys were conducted between April and May and included 681 potential voters in 170 points of urban zones with over 5,000 inhabitants. The question was As you know, in the year 2019 there will be national elections to elect a president and legislators. If the elections were today, have you decided who you will vote for?

In July 2018 Uruguay's former President Jose Mujica called for the left to unite and fight back against the rise of the right-wing in Latin America, and praised Cuba and Fidel Castro as an example for the region. Mujica pointed to historical examples to emphasize the necessity of a united left front, recalling the long rule of Spanish 20th century dictator Francisco Franco, who "died in bed, of old age, peacefully, because communists, socialists and anarchists dedicated themselves much more to fighting among themselves rather than fighting against fascism."

He said he understood the lesson is a hard one to learn, because "every sect of the left thinks it has the revealed truth," but this mentality ends up destroying possible victories. "The right united out of interest, but we divide ourselves over ideas," Mujica said.

Mujica announced his retirement from the Senate on 14 August 2018, but had no plans to abandon political life and may yet run for the presidency again in 2019. Speaking to local media, 83-year-old Mujica who ruled from 2010 to 2015 and was immortalized as 'the world's humblest head of state' for donating 90 percent of his US$12,000 monthly salary to charity said he was stepping down due to his advancing years and international travel plans.

"I feel I will not have the energy to attend parliament," he said, describing commitments as of August 21 to travel to Argentina, Spain, Italy and France "I cannot elude." But far from heralding Mujica's withdrawal from public life, the Broad Front (FA) senator insisted: "I will participate in the battle of ideas.... There are always pending issues."

"The capacity to think and dream far exceeds the capacity to fulfill that we men have," the leader of the Popular Participation Movement was quoted as saying by Prensa Latina. Asked about his high point in office, Mujica replied: "Every positive law that contributed to improving distribution." Such efforts, he said, draw little recognition at the time, becoming important only when their results are threatened.

"Parliament gains importance when a dictatorship comes and we lose it. Then we realize the value it has and then we forget it again." Regarding the 2019 presidential elections, Mujica said he was still considering whether to run as an independent candidate: "That would be the ideal thing, but I don't know if it will be achieved."

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