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"Kathleen de la Pe�a McCook"
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Date: Sun, 31 Oct 2004 23:40:36 -0500
Subject: Leftist Wins Uruguayan Election
Leftist wins historic Uruguayan presidential
November 1, 2004, Agence France Presse
Socialist Tabare Vazquez scored a historic
Uruguay's presidential voting as exit polls
coalition that includes former guerrilla fighters
than 50 percent of votes cast.
Supporters of Vazquez's leftist coalition, which
former Tupamaro rebels that took up arms to fight
1973-1985 military junta, were already
celebrating in the
street as Vazquez declared victory.
"Celebrate Uruguayans, celebrate, for the victory
thanks, many thanks," Vazquez told thousands of
Crowds had already gathered along Montevideo's
waving red, white and blue flags -- the coalition
Street vendors were doing brisk business, and
in packed cars honking horns and chanting
"It's a paradox that in this day of happiness I
crying,"said Manuel Mata, 62, part of Vazquez's
A coalition victory will break the stranglehold
and National parties have held the presidency
independence from Spain in 1825.
Vazquez, 64, pressed his ballot against his heart
dropping it in the poll box in a working class
Swamped by supporters and reporters, Vazquez
dedicated "his triumph" to a recently deceased
"We are going to extend a brotherly and tolerant
Vazquez after voting, "because the Uruguay of the
to be built between all of us."
Exit polls by both the Factum and Interconsult
Vazquez had won enough votes to claim victory and
runoff. Election officials said official results
known early Monday.
Vazquez's nearest rival is attorney Jorge
Larranaga, 48, of
the National Party, who polls showed had around
support. Larranaga urged "respect and tolerance"
as he cast
his ballot, and later conceded defeat.
Across town, Colorado Party President Jorge
for the country's worst economic slump in decades
line and waited for two people ahead of him to
before he could vote.
Under Batlle, president since 2000, Uruguay
economic meltdown that resulted in an 80 percent
country's hard-currency reserves, saw official
rise to 20 percent, and left one in four
Batlle cannot run for re-election, but is running
senate seat. Uruguayans "will vote in absolute
will elect its governors like always," he said in
tense exchange with reporters.
According to polls the official Colorado party
around 10 percent support.
Voters are choosing a president for a five-year
with 31 senators and 99 deputies. Some 2.5
Uruguay's 3.4 million citizens are obliged by law
The new president will tackle Uruguay's
debt and a currency recovering from a two-thirds
Vazquez, a medical doctor and former Montevideo
presidential bids in 1994 and 1999.
If elected, Vazquez would follow other
candidates taking office in South America,
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (2002), Argentina's
(2003), Ecuador's Lucio Gutierrez (2002), Chile's
Lagos (2000) and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez (1998).
Zapopan Mart�n Muela Meza
PhD student Information Studies
Department of Information Studies
University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
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