Monday, August 5th 2013 - 02:15 UTC

Uruguay’s ruling coalition wants Vazquez to confirm his 2014 presidential candidacy

Uruguayan Former president Tabare Vazquez is expected to announce in coming days that he will effectively be the ruling Broad Front candidate for next year’s presidential election when President Jose Mujica’s five year term comes to an end.

The former president wants time ‘to consider biology and the Broad Front’s government program’

However his much expected decision will not be that simple because his figure has been questioned from inside the coalition and he is extremely fearful of the economic legacy he will inherit if he is finally elected.

“Much will depend on biology and events” Vazquez has repeatedly expressed and at the same time calling for caution in expenditure and no increases in next year’s budget because the ‘tail wind’ is coming to an end. And he should know since he ruled (2005/2010) and benefited enormously with the boom in commodities’ prices and demand, but now all forecasts coincide tough years lie ahead particularly because in the ten years of the catch-all coalition Broad Front rule, savings in the years of enviable growth have been minimum, if any, and one thing is to manage abundance and another completely different scarcity of resources.

Besides if the US Fed Reserve begins cutting back on bonds’ purchasing, currently negative interest rates will star to climb and the inflow to the region of capitals in recent years could easily turn into an outflow.

In recent meetings with the groups of the coalition which represent the majority of votes, Vazquez has called on avoiding ‘radical’ measures or ‘turns’ to the left as extreme groups are demanding. He has also accepted to hold primaries for the nomination of the presidential candidate as established by Uruguayan electoral law but which the Broad Front historically has preferred to avoid helping to keep cohesion.

The increase in the fiscal deficit and the hike in next year’s budget expenditure have been oncologist Vazquez main concerns as well as the recently approved legislation on marihuana consumption, a bill which he rejected point blanc on medical and ethical reasons, and that he will have to implement, in particular the sale of the drug in registered pharmacies to consumers. The Mujica administration forced the approval of the marihuana bill on party lines and despite the fact that 63% of the population was against it.

The groups calling for alternative candidacies inside the Uruguayan ruling coalition also insist in no trade or political links with the US; demand more ‘Socialist’ legislation mainly taxing the rich and the owners of the means of production.

Vazquez on the contrary wants orthodox economist Danilo Astori and his team to continue managing the Uruguayan economy, and would like to achieve the free trade agreement with the US which he was unable during his first mandate because of internal resistance. Vazquez has also pleaded for more respect for the US, recalling that in the peak of the confrontation with Argentina over the pulp mill on the River Uruguay, former President George Bush pledged political and if needed, military support.

But some groups inside the coalition believe Vazquez is not necessarily the right man for the next five years, and point out to several reasons: he will be taking office with 77 years of age and will be over 80 at the end of the five year mandate; his style of government does ‘not correspond’ to what is considered left or Socialist the party to which he was affiliated until he clashed over the abortion bill that he does not support again on medical and ethical reasons; he belongs to a generation of old (over age) leaders and it is time to let fresh air in, and for 2014; there will be an additional 300.000 voters who will be seeing the Broad Front as the ‘government party’, not the party of reform, hope and protest and although ‘popular’, Vazquez ‘does not mingle or listen sufficiently to people’.

But at the end of the day much again will depend on ‘biology (health) and the Broad Front program’ that is virtually in the hands of the radicals and the Communist party, member of the coalition, and that control many of the grass root delegates to the congress structure. The Communist party has also refused to participate in current discussions arguing that the ruling coalition has a calendar of activities to accomplish, before making any decision or dealings on the margins.

With such a profile and condemned of castigated by the radicals inside the coalition for not being truly ‘leftist’, Vazquez has a natural reach to the rest of the political spectrum which in Uruguay is mainly centre left, probably social-democrat in European terms, and that is currently orphan of strong convincing leaders in the two main opposition parties.

Nevertheless this has not prevented Vazquez from acting as the incumbent pre-candidate despite having announced in October 2011 he was taking a rest from politics. He has made speeches, toured the country and in low key expressed his disapproval of the bills on abortion and marijuana, among other public activities.

“Despite Vazquez announcement that making official his decision to run for the presidency will much depend on biology and the coalition’s government program, the fact is that it is becoming increasingly difficult for him to refuse such responsibility because he could then be seen as the man who precipitated the Broad Front’s October 2014 defeat”, said Eduardo Gonzales, a political-science scholar and pollster.

As to the opposition Gonzalez said that the Broad Front continues “to be comfortably the leading voted party; the opposition National and Colorado parties have a chance in the run-off if Vazquez drops out, but without a much needed majority in parliament”.

However the other big battle in the Broad Front and if Vazquez runs will be who is to be his companion in the presidential ticket. Although the issue ‘officially’ has not been discussed it seems increasingly possible that the current First lady and Senator Lucia Topolansky will jump into the ticket, not only because of the group that supports President Mujica and her, the Popular Participation Movement, MPP, is among the strongest in the coalition, but also their influence as former guerrillas could establish a bridge with the most radical groups.

11 comments Feed

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1 ChrisR (#) Aug 05th, 2013 - 08:12 am Report abuse
The fucking communists need fucking with a rag mans trumpet to put their brains out of their arses.

Let us hope it is not as bad as it appears.
2 Stevie (#) Aug 05th, 2013 - 10:08 am Report abuse
Darn Mercopress, I'm amazed with this article.
No blatant lies, just plain information, and true as well!!!

No worries though, MPP has already stated they back Vazquez, and with that, the discussion is ended for whom is to become the next candidate.

Chris, when you say the communists, you mean them from the communist party, or do you classify every voter further left than Vazquez a “communist”?
3 ChrisR (#) Aug 05th, 2013 - 12:11 pm Report abuse
2 Stevie

Only the communist party.
4 Stevie (#) Aug 05th, 2013 - 12:35 pm Report abuse
But you know Pepe is not from the Communist Party, do you? He's from MPP...
5 ChrisR (#) Aug 05th, 2013 - 03:07 pm Report abuse
4 Stevie

Yes, I know that.

I also know Pepe was a 'radical' socialist and took to being a terrorist and robbing banks to fund his 'ideals'.

He has also said that you have sometimes to ignore the law to get things done.

Ask yourself a question: is he not a communist in reality, despite what he claims otherwise?
6 Stevie (#) Aug 05th, 2013 - 03:50 pm Report abuse
And what does he claim otherwise, dear Chris?
7 ChrisR (#) Aug 05th, 2013 - 06:14 pm Report abuse
6 Stevie

Well, that's difficult because he says a lot of things and then takes them back.

I suspect the onset of dementia here and his health is definately catching up with him, as is reasonable given his age.

He really blew it with Pluna and showed himself up badly by relying on his old cronies who frankly appear to be idiots if you look at what they say.
8 Stevie (#) Aug 06th, 2013 - 06:35 pm Report abuse
You need to appreciate the flavour of the language. Pepe speaks the language of the people, which is why he is so respected. If you take every word he says literally, I understand your confusion. But many times he is speaking about a feeling or sensation, rather than the actual meaning of what he is saying.
For example, “vos fumás adentro de una garrafa” doesn't actually mean that you smoke in a gas bottle..
9 ChrisR (#) Aug 07th, 2013 - 11:38 am Report abuse
8 Stevie

But there you have it: an exercise in confusion.

I have always found that Europeans and Americans can be relied to understand plain English / Italian, etc. Such people can get very upset when they don’t know what to make of statements.

We had a new managing director in one company I worked for who liked to talk in homilies, thinking he would get the meaning of what he wanted to say over in simple words “of truth” as he put it. Unfortunately for him (and us the management) not many people went to church or read the bible or went to Sunday School in the area around Witton, Birmingham (near to Villa Park) and he really confused the Sikhs and pissed off the Muslims in the 1,200 workforce.

Being pedantic, you CANNOT smoke inside a gas bottle! The reason is very simple, there is no means of sustaining combustion (there is no oxygen). How many Uruguayans understand that?
10 Stevie (#) Aug 07th, 2013 - 01:27 pm Report abuse
Hahahaha Chris!
“One cannot smoke inside a gas bottle”...
You are just priceless!
11 ChrisR (#) Aug 07th, 2013 - 05:28 pm Report abuse
10 Stevie

I thought you would like it!

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