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Uruguayan President-elect Luis Lacalle Pou arrives at the country’s presidential palace Uruguayan President-elect Luis Lacalle Pou arrives at the country’s presidential palace for a meeting with outgoing President Tabare Vazquez in Montevideo, Uruguay, Dec. 2, 2019 (AP photo by Matilde Campodonico).

A Leftist Loss in Uruguay’s Presidential Race Wasn’t Exactly a Conservative Triumph

Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019

Ending 15 years of governing by the leftist Broad Front coalition, Luis Lacalle Pou of the center-right National Party was declared the winner on Nov. 30 of Uruguay’s closely contested presidential runoff. The results of the second-round vote a week earlier, on Nov. 24, came down to just 28,666 votes out of 2.43 million cast, according to the Electoral Court. With turnout at 90 percent, Lacalle Pou, a lawyer, veteran congressman and son of a former president, edged the Broad Front’s candidate, Daniel Martinez, a former mayor of Montevideo, 48.7 to 47.5 percent.

During the Broad Front’s decade and a half in power, it pursued pragmatic economic policies and a series of socially liberal reforms, as poverty and inequality fell. Uruguay’s government is now back in the hands of the country’s two oldest political parties, the conservative National Party and Colorado Party—each founded in 1836—along with a newly formed right-wing movement called the Cabildo Abierto, or the Open Forum. After being knocked out in the first round on Oct. 27, the Colorado Party’s presidential candidate, Ernesto Talvi, and Cabildo Abierto’s candidate, Guido Manini Rios, a retired general, threw their weight behind Lacalle Pou to form a “multicolor” conservative coalition, papering over a range of disagreements and historical rivalries. ...

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