Uruguay goes to polls to choose successor to Pepe Mujica

(AGI) Montevideo, Oct 26 - Uruguay goes to the polls on Sundayto choose a successor to the outgoing president, thecharismatic Pepe Mujica, 79, a former guerrilla, prevented bythe Constitution from standing for a second term. The leftistgovernment of the Frente Ampio de Izquierda is facing achallenge from a "young" opponent, Luis Lacalle Pou, 41, son offormer President Alberto Lacalle, who among other things plansto recriminalise marijuana, legalised by President Mujica. Thelatter would rather leave his post to his friend andpredecessor Tabare Vazquez, 74 years old. Uruguay has enjoyed adecade of

(AGI) Montevideo, Oct 26 - Uruguay goes to the polls on Sundayto choose a successor to the outgoing president, thecharismatic Pepe Mujica, 79, a former guerrilla, prevented bythe Constitution from standing for a second term. The leftistgovernment of the Frente Ampio de Izquierda is facing achallenge from a "young" opponent, Luis Lacalle Pou, 41, son offormer President Alberto Lacalle, who among other things plansto recriminalise marijuana, legalised by President Mujica. Thelatter would rather leave his post to his friend andpredecessor Tabare Vazquez, 74 years old. Uruguay has enjoyed adecade of strong economic growth under Mujica and Vazquez, withPresident Mujica, who is keen on civil rights, also legalisingabortion, gay marriage and his piece de resistance, the growthand sale of marijuana. The polls make Mr Vazquez favourite with43 to 46 percent of the vote against 31 to 33 percent for hisrival, but this would mean Vazquez facing a second round inNovember. Uruguay's economy is worth 55 billion dollars and hasgrown by an average of 5.7 percent a year since 2005. Thenumber of poor has dropped to 11 percent from 33 percent in2006. .