Ex-Uruguay leader Vazquez wins presidential election | News | DW | 01.12.2014
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Ex-Uruguay leader Vazquez wins presidential election

Exit polls in Uruguay show former president Tabare Vazquez will get his old job back, after winning runoff elections on Sunday. The result extends the ruling center-left coalition's hold on power.

Three exit polls broadcast by Uruguay's main television stations all show the center-left Vazquez beating conservative Luis Lacalle Pou of the National Party. Two polls showed Vazquez at 54 percent and Pou at 41 percent, and the third put them at 52 to 43 percent respectively. Official results have not been released.

Vazquez, a respected oncologist, was president from 2005-2010 and replaces his own successor, outgoing President Jose Mujica, who is forbidden to seek immediate re-election. Both belong to the Broad Front coalition.

Vazquez has said he may modify a law legalizing the production and sale of marijuana - passed last year under Mujica's leadership, in a bid to take control of the drug trade from illegal gangs.

Pou, 41, had said he wanted to repeal much of the pro-marijuana reform.

Mujica, 79, won widespread affection throughout the country of 3.4 million people for his straight-talking, unpretentious style - and also praise overseas for having legalized same-sex marriage and introducing liberal abortion legislation.

He had been known as the "the world's humblest president" on the basis of his simple, austere lifestyle - he lives in a humble farmhouse and donates most of his salary to charity.

Vazquez has said his policy priorities will be education, infrastructure and public safety.

jr/lw (Reuters, dpa)