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Uruguay's Voters Give Former President Tabaré Vázquez His Old Job Back

Foto compartida en Flickr por Montecruz Foto de Tabaré Vázquez durante un acto de campaña.

Image shared on Flicker by Montecruz Foto of Tabaré Vázquez during a campaign stop.

Tabaré Vázquez will return to his former position as president of Uruguay after beating out his rival in the country's elections with a 13-percent advantage. 

Vázquez was elected on November 30 with 1,226,105 votes (55.04 percent) over his Nationalist rival Luis Lacalle Pou's 939,074. The win for his leftist coalition Broad Front (Frente Amplio) earned coverage from the most prestigious media outlets throughout Latin America and Spain, underlining the important victory he had over his rival. The Spanish-language article, “The President Who Declared War on Cigarettes, published December 1 in Madrid-based newspaper El Mundo, details the commitment of the new-old president to work “with all Uruguayans.” 

Around 8:30 p.m. the day of the runoff, preliminary results from the ballot count along with forecasts based on the first exit polls began to point to Vázquez as the winner. Not long after, outgoing President José Mujica met with Vázquez and his running mate Raúl Sendic at the Four Points hotel to offer his greetings.

In his first statements, Vázquez, who was president from 2005-2010, expressed his desire to find common ground with the opposition parties regarding the most important issues: health, education, safety, and peaceful coexistence of citizens. Once the ballot results were made known, Vázquez gave a speech before supporters waiting in the street, reaffirming his position: “Within the Constitution and the law, all is possible. Outside the Constitution and the law, nothing is possible.” 

Many international media outlets highlighted that the second round of elections between the two candidates were carried out smoothly throughout the country; not even the reigning bad weather kept voters away from the booths. 

Argentinean newspaper Página 12 ran Vázquez's victory on its front cover on December 1 with the headline, “The Front Has Broadened.” President of Argentina Cristina Fernández congratulated Vázquez via telephone Sunday evening, as described in a story from www.uypress.net.

The president-elect began a busy schedule following his win, including making announcements and confirmations for his cabinet in preparation for his inauguration on March 1.  

On social media, some voters had a sense of humor regarding the campaign, mounting tongue-in-cheek protests, such as María Noel Pereira (@heymarianoel) and her “Ballot Jingle”: 

News radio program Informativo de Radio Oceánica (@infcentral) reported on the celebrations that took place in the border town of Chuy: 

Vázquez, a 74-year-old oncologist, promises to continue the social assistance programs of previous left-wing administrations. The president-elect known for his fight against cigarettes, promised to uphold the law legalizing marijuana; however, he will not implement its basic aspects and warned that if unsuccessful, it shall be reversed. 

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