MONTEVIDEO – Images of a soon-to-be victorious Tabare Vazquez and a defensive Luis Lacalle Pou appealing for the “freedom” of citizens closed the electoral campaign for the second round of the Uruguayan presidential elections.
In the end it was a lackluster campaign which gave one the feeling as if everything was already decided even before the contest.
Latest polls give former president Vazquez, of the leftist Broad Front party, a huge 14 point advantage over his opponent.
Speaking at an event in Montevideo on Thursday, Vazquez repeatedly and vehemently declared that his party “will form its third consecutive government on Nov. 30.”
“The Broad Front that closes this campaign today, sowed seeds of hope years ago that if it came to power it would make the country better. And it did that,” Vazquez said.
“This Broad Front made a commitment to the people and the large majority of the nation. And today it is harvesting the fruit of confidence, it sowed seeds of humanism, solidarity, fraternity and today it is gathering impressive support,” he added.
The candidate also vowed to make society more equitable with “decent work, better health and housing, more culture.”
Vazquez garnered 47.9 percent of the votes in the Oct. 26 elections, securing a majority in the Chamber of Deputies, a result that none of the opinion polls had predicted.
In the opposing camp, Lacalle Pou and his running mate Jorge Larrañaga brought their campaign to a close in San Carlos with a promise of “freedom” for the Uruguayans if the National Party won.
Lacalle was emphatic in pointing out the mistakes of the Broad Front and the danger of Vazquez’s government abusing its majority in parliament.
In addition, he also charged the government for the persistence of marginal areas “for those who did not pass the 10 years of economic prosperity,” the state of education, or public security, which he described as a “resounding failure,” while also attacking the “foreign relations based on friendships” which, according to him, the Broad Front has constantly adhered to.
Pollsters, political experts and journalists have described the Sunday race as little more than an anecdote in which the only unknown is what Vazquez’s margin of victory will be.
On Sunday, some 2.6 million Uruguayans will vote for their new president, who will replace Jose Mujica on March 1.