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Uruguay's primaries give birth to a new young leader in the ruling coalition

Tuesday, June 3rd 2014 - 05:51 UTC
Full article 3 comments
Raul Sendic is 52, is young for a coalition with leaders in their seventies: Mujica, Vazquez and Astori Raul Sendic is 52, is young for a coalition with leaders in their seventies: Mujica, Vazquez and Astori

Yet more surprises from last Sunday's primaries in Uruguay to choose candidates for the October presidential election. Not only did the main opposition vote overwhelmingly for renewal, but now it has emerged that in the ruling coalition, which suffers from a generation of Jurassic leaders, a young challenger has emerged as the most voted and is now demanding a place in the presidential ticket.

 Raul Sendic, 52, son of the historic founder and leader of the Tupamaros urban guerrilla movement of the sixties, ex lawmaker and ex head of Uruguay's fuels and cement company Ancap, surprised last Sunday when he obtained the most votes with his grouping identified with the number 711 and won in 11 of Uruguay's 19 districts.

Last Sunday the ruling coalition Broad Front voted ex president Tabare Vazquez as the presidential candidate for October, but left the vice-president seat open in what should be a negotiated 'balanced ticket', since the coalition is made up of at least ten different groupings. Thus if the main position goes to a Socialist, (Vázquez), the second seat traditionally belongs to the group which had the best performance.

Opinion polls indicated that List 609 belonging to president Jose Mujica and his wife Senator Lucia Topolansky, would be the most voted, but was finally displaced to runner up. This somehow torpedoed what was an open secret, an understanding between Vazquez and Mujica that Lucia would be his running mate.

Nevertheless President Mujica was quick to support the demand from Sendic and his vice-president aspirations, which must be decided sometime in the next ten days, before the World Cup takes off and everybody forgets about politics.

At 52, Sendic belongs to the 'young' generation of the Broad Front leaders most of them in their seventies: Mujica was 79 last month; Vazquez is 74 and vice-president and former Economy minister Danilo Astori is also 74. This means that by the time Vazquez leaves office if he is elected he will be 80.

Sendic chances to make it to the ticket have been boosted by what happened in the main opposition National party where Luis Lacalle Pou, 41, knocked out of the race veteran hopeful Senator Jorge Larrañaga. Lacalle Pou until the ban on disclosure of public opinion polls 48 hours before voting day on Sunday was trailing Larrañaga by three to six points. However the final result was 53% for the challenger and 47% for Larrañaga.

His campaign and message was simple and clear: think positive, trespass the status quo and look ahead; forget about squabbling, let's work together, which was supported by a fresh very successful campaign on radio and television.

With the two main opposition parties (National and Colorado) with young leaders and presidential candidates playing the renewal tune, it's hard to see how the Broad Front can sell a presidential ticket that averages 75, thus the chances for Raul Sendic.

Categories: Politics, Latin America, Uruguay.

Top Comments

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  • ynsere

    Mr Sendic, in the photo, seems to have misplaced USD 150 million belonging to ANCAP, the state oil and fossil fuel monopoly, of which he was the (politically appointed) CEO until recently. He got the job because his Dad was considered a hero by the Tupamaros.

    Crooked looking bugger, isn't he? Rumour has it he's both.

    Jun 03rd, 2014 - 06:16 am 0
  • Anglotino

    52 is young?

    Must use a different definition to me.

    Jun 03rd, 2014 - 10:32 am 0
  • ChrisR

    Like all the peoples of SA the voters (very poor turn out in a legal requirement to vote) seem unable to get away from the past.

    I have to agree that Sendic looks like someone that I could trust as far as I could throw him.

    More of the same shit then, except it's good news about La Tronca being sidelined for the VP job.

    Jun 03rd, 2014 - 11:45 am 0
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