Leftist cancer specialist Tabare Vasquez is back at the helm of Uruguay, after easily winning Sunday’s run-off presidential election.
Supporters of his ruling Broad Front thronged the streets of Montevideo to celebrate the victory of Vasquez, 74, who last led one of Latin America’s most liberal nations from 2005-2010.
“I want to emphasise our pride in being part of this dear Uruguayan nation that once again has demonstrated its love of democracy, respect and tolerance and turned this day into a beautiful, civic exercise for all Uruguayans, no matter what their political persuasion,” Vasquez told the jubilant crowd.
Despite some reservations, Vazquez is set to go ahead in implementing a groundbreaking law legalising the production and sale of marijuana. His defeated centre-right opponent, Luis Lacalle Pou, had threatened to repeal some of the legislation.
It was introduced by current president, former leftist guerrilla Jose Mujica, who was constitutionally barred from seeking a second consecutive term.
The Broad Front narrowly won a majority in Congress in legislative elections last month, meaning Vazquez will be in firm control when his term begins on March 1.
“A third Broad Front government will show the world that Uruguay can be progressive and successful, reducing poverty while boasting an economy performing better than ever,” said pizza chef Richar Martinez, 39, partying in the streets with his son hoisted on his shoulders.
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