Uruguayan Vice President Beatriz Argimón is in charge of the country's Executive Branch since Friday at 6.30 pm when President Luis Lacalle Pou transferred the powers of his office at Montevideo's Carrasco international airport prior to departing on an official trip to Qatar, where he is to remain until Dec. 14.
Senator Graciela Bianchi will serve as acting vice president.
Lacalle's entourage included First Lady Lorena Ponce de León, Foreign Minister Francisco Bustillo and National Army aide-de-camp Guillermo Roca.
Uruguay's Senate had granted Lacalle's request to leave Dec. 7, in compliance with Article 170 of the Constitution regarding the head of state's absence for more than 48 hours.
Lacalle will visit the city of Doha, capital of the State of Qatar, in a mission which seeks new markets for Uruguayan exports. The Foreign Ministry has explained the Middle East was an important target which was not being properly exploited. The President is also scheduled to return to the region in March, 2022 for the Expo Dubai fair.
In addition to sales, Uruguayan authorities are said to be seeking direct investments from Qatari businessmen.
It is Lacalle Pou's fourth trip abroad since taking office March 1, 2020. He went to Brasilia to meet with Jair Bolsonaro, to Buenos Aires to get together with Alberto Fernández and to the VI Summit of Heads of State and Government of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac), in Mexico City, from where he went stratight to the 76th United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Lacalle is also expected to spend Christmas in Congo with Uruguayan troops stationed there.