Uruguay's ruling Broad Front coalition, despite pollster forecasts to the contrary, confirmed their dominance of local politics and are likely to enjoy a parliamentary majority, after the Sunday presidential election that left Tabare Vazquez as favorite to succeed José Mujica as head of state.
With 99.8% of votes counted, Vazquez surpassed the results projected from exit polls to take a total of 47.9% of votes. This puts the former president (2005/2010) well ahead of runner up Luis Lacalle Pou, with 30.96%, as the pair prepare for 30 November's run-off.
Third placed junior opposition Colorado party and candidate Pedro Bordaberry only managed 12.92% of the vote (forecasts had him between 17% and 19%), which means that mathematically Lacalle Pou despite the Colorado pledge to support him in the runoff, simply is not enough (47.9% against a theoretical 44%).
Furthermore the percentages obtained by oncologist Vazquez, would be enough to give the Broad Front a majority in both Houses of Congress, subject to confirmation by Uruguay's Electoral Court.
The ruling coalition according to the latest percentages, would take 50 of the 99 seats in the Lower House and, in the case of Vazquez triumphing in the second round, 16 out of 30 places in the Senate. The Broad Front already has 15 benches and would gain the extra Senator with Raul Sendic, who completes Vazquez presidential ticket. Under Uruguayan electoral law, the vice-president is the chair of the Senate.
Once the Electoral authorities confirm this at the end of November, the Broad Front would have ensured its third five-year consecutive term with a clear majority in the legislative. This unexpected performance was also supported by victory in 14 out of 19 Uruguayan's electoral districts.
Meanwhile current president José Mujica will move into the Upper House at the end of his mandate, after leading the list of senators that won a comfortable victory for the ruling coalition in Sunday's elections. His list 609 will have six of the fifteen benches, making him the strongest grouping.
These results are primary and provisional, and we still have an estimated 30.000 'observed' votes to count, from staff working at the ballot booths and the guards. Once this has been finished the Electoral Court will make the official proclamation. At this stage we can't support any official assessment of vote count, said Julio Arocena, member of the Electoral Court.
Nevertheless, unofficially it can be admitted that the ruling Broad Front coalition is going to enjoy a legislative majority.
On Sunday, 2.35 million Uruguayans of the 2.6 million registered effectively voted. The high percentage is explained because voting is compulsory and not complying sanctioned with a fine, and could turn into a serious problem since most government offices demand an election day attendance certificate.
With 99.8% of votes counted, the ruling coalition garnered 1.108 million votes; the National party, 716.000; Colorado party, 299.000; Independent party, 71.407; Popular Assembly with 24.749 plus 42.957 blank and 30.665 spoilt.