Monday, November 30, 2009

Ex-Guerilla and Political Prisoner Wins Uruguay's runoff Election

Monday 30 November 2009

A former guerilla has won Uruguay's presidential run-off, keeping the ruling centre-left Broad Front coalition in power for another five-year term, beginning on March 1.

Jose Mujica, who co-founded the Tupamaro militant group in the 1960s, received more than 50 per cent of the vote, topping former president Luis Lacalle of the centre-right National Party, who trailed with just 45 per cent.

Inspired by the Cuban revolution, Mr Mujica co-founded the Tupamaros to organise kidnappings, bombings and other attacks on US-backed right-wing governments.

Convicted of killing a policeman in 1971, Mr Mujica endured torture and solitary confinement during nearly 15 years in prison.

Mr Lacalle claimed that his rival would transform Uruguay into a socialist state, but Mr Mujica campaigned as a consensus builder and said he'd continue the policies of the popular current President Tabare Vazquez.

Mr Vazquez imposed a progressive income tax using the additional revenue to lower unemployment and poverty, provide equal access to health care to everyone under 18 and to steer the economy to 1.9 per cent growth this year, even as many other economies around the world shrank.

Morning Star News, UK

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