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Uruguay: Mujica is President After Run-off Election

The new president of Uruguay has finally been elected: José “Pepe” Mujica [es], candidate from left-wing party The Broad Front, obtained the majority of the votes on the run-off election of November 29. The first round of voting for president occurred the last Sunday of October, with no candidate reaching the majority required. Mujica held the leadership then with his running mate, the now vicepresident-elect Danilo Astori, as he received 48.16% of the votes.

Photo of José Mujica by Agência Brasil. Taken from Wikipedia, using a Creative Commons License: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Mujica

Photo of José Mujica by Agência Brasil. Taken from Wikipedia, using a Creative Commons License: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Mujica

According to Portal 180 [es], Mujica is the first former guerrilla member that reaches the presidential chair of Uruguay. He was part of the Movimiento de Liberación Nacional-Tupamaros (National Liberation Movement-Tupamaros) during the 60s and fought the government of Jorge Pacheco Areco. He was involved in armed actions such as Toma de Pando [es] (Pando takeover) and Fuga de Punta Carretas (Punta Carretas escape, an epic prison break recently featured on a documentary by History Channel [es]).

Mujica also founded the Movimiento de Participación Popular [es] (Movement of Popular Participation), which led him to hold assigments as deputy, senator and more recently as Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries minister.

“Ni vencidos, ni vencedores” (“Neither losers nor winners”) was the phrase that the president-elect used to sum up his victory.

Strong opinions about the result of the election can be read on the blogosphere. The reaction of the anonymous author of the leisure-oriented blog Ociomentario [es] can be understood as disappointment:

URUGUAY ELIGIÓ POR PRIMERA VEZ EN SU HISTORIA UN PRESIDENTE ASESINO

For the first time in history Uruguay elected a murderer president

To the author of the political-oriented blog ElPolvorin [es], the elected president represents a fake change:

como el nuevo portavoz del neo liberalismo en Uruguay disfrazado de Izquierdista, continua la política digitada por el FMI [Fondo Monetario Internacional], con dos caras y dos discursos, uno cuando viaje a Venezuela y el otro cuando viaje a EEUU, como Tabare .
Nada habrá que esperar de estos nuevos neo liberales, “vuelve el pobre a su pobreza, vuelve el rico a su riqueza”.

as the new speaker of neoliberalism in Uruguay in left-wing disguise, he will continue the IMF [International Monetary Fund] policies, with two faces and two lines of discourse, one used in travels to Venezuela and the other one in travels to US, like [current president] Tabare.
Nothing to be expected from these new neoliberals, “the poor returns to his poverty, the rich returns to his richness”.

On the side that celebrates the president-elect, blogger Antonio Giossa, who is uruguayan but lives in Argentina, explains [es] that Mujica won the election because of three main points:

Primero y principal, será la continuidad del actual gobierno frenteamplista. Si bien su estilo lo diferencia un poco de Tabaré Vázquez, Mujica cumplirá a rajatabla el lineamiento planteado por el Programa Político del Frente Amplio.
Segundo, su personalidad y su carisma. Campechano, frontal, honesto, sin pelos en la lengua. Algo que a veces puede jugar en contra y cosechar rechazos, pero que también ha logrado generar una confianza casi absoluta de parte de los votantes y simpatizantes.
Tercero, el Frente Amplio logró demostrar, a partir del año 2004, que es una fuerza política que sabe ejercer el gobierno en forma responsable, efectiva y con un solo objetivo en mente: el bienestar del pueblo.

First and more importantly, it is the continuity of the current Broadfrontal government. If his style separates him a little from Tabaré Vázquez, Mujica will accomplish in all matters the line established by the Programa Político del Frente Amplio (Political Program of the Broad Front).
Second, his personality and charisma. Small-towness appeal, frontal, honest, tough talker. [It is] Something that could be used against him and harvest rejections, but that can also gain almost absolute reliability on him by voters and followers. Third, since 2004 The Broad Front has proved that it is a political power that can enforce government in a responsible and effective way, with only one goal in mind: welfare for the country.

Mujica will be sworn in as president on March 2010 for a 5-year term.

Translated by Issa Villarreal

1 comment

  • Gus

    Well, don’t panic, after all, Israel has been electing its heads of state among old “guerrilla” members, and nobody seems to care much about it. The only difference though is that while they continue killing innocents, over here in Uruguay they try to make things easier for everyone instead.

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