Presidential Elections in Uruguay Head to Second Round

October 13, 2016

On October 26th, Uruguay held its presidential, vice presidential, and parliamentary elections. The previous president, José “Pepe” Mujica, was not able to run since it is not permissible for a president to serve two consecutive terms. Running in his place was the Broad Front candidate, Tabare Vazquez, who comes from the same political party as Mujica. The Broad Front, or the Frente Amplio as its known in Uruguay, is a center leftist group with many former communists and guerrilla leaders. The other main opponents in this presidential race were center-right candidate Luis Lacalle Pou, and Pedro Bordaberry from the Colorado Party.2

Since no majority was reached during polling, the top two candidates are now heading to a second round of elections. Vazquez was close to the majority but only received 44-46 percent of votes while Pou received 31-33 percent, with Bordaberry coming in with only 14 percent. After election results came out, Bordaberry was quick to throw his support behind Pou, the more conservative of the two top candidates.1 Among many social and political issues hanging in the balance of this election is the marijuana law that Mujica and the past congress passed that would allow for government regulated growing and selling of the product.

While Mujica may be remembered as a somewhat radical president who legalized marijuana, abortion, and same sex marriage, he also was at the forefront of vast economic growth in Uruguay. During his presidency and Vazquez’s first term as president in 2005-2010, the economy grew 5.7 percent each year and was accompanied by rises in wages.1 Many people are frustrated with government which has focused mostly on social reforms but has left people wanting more growth in the education system, environmental policies, and national security.3

The second round of elections, scheduled for November 30th, will decide whether the country will continue on the same left leaning path or if it will take a new direction more to the right. If Vazquez wins, some of the more liberal laws implemented by Mujica will remain, and if Pou wins, these laws may be eradicated and change the social landscape of Uruguay.


1)Castaldi, Malena, and Esteban Farat. "Uruguay's Presidential Election Heads to a Runoff." Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 27 Oct. 2014. Web. 28 Oct. 2014. <

2)"Uruguay: High Stakes as Voters Choose New President and Legislators." The Guardian. Associated Press in Montevideo, 26 Oct. 2014. Web. 28 Oct. 2014. <

3)"Uruguay's Presidential Election Goes to Runoff." BBC News. N.p., 27 Oct. 2014. Web. 26 Oct. 2014. <>.

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Sophia Winston
Sophia Winston is a Spanish and Urban Studies major at the University of Pittsburgh, she is also pursuing a certificate in Latin American Studies and a minor in Portuguese. She has spent a semester abroad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and is currently a senior.