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Uruguay’s presidential election may go to runoff

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Exit polls in Uruguay’s presidential election indicate that the polls may go to a run-off, despite leftist ruling coalition candidate Tabare Vazquez having a strong lead.

The exit polls from the Sunday election showed that Vasquez may have to face center-right rival Luis Lacalle Pou in a second round vote.

Exit polls showed Vazquez receiving 44 to 46 percent of the votes against Lacalle Pou with 31 to 34 percent.

If confirmed, the run-off will be held on November 30.

Meanwhile, partial results from Sunday’s legislative elections showed Vazques’ party Broad Front could win an absolute majority in the parliament.

Vazquez, 74, is an oncologist who served as president from 2005 to 2010. He has campaigned on the platform of reducing the country’s poverty, improving education and working conditions, and expanding welfare coverage.

Pou, a 41-year-old lawyer and legislator who served as the president of the Chamber of Deputies in 2011, is considered a moderate conservative.

Incumbent President Jose Mujica, also of the Broad Front, did not run in the election, as the country’s constitution barred him from participating for a second consecutive term.

The South American country of 3.3 million has a developing economy thanks largely to Mujica’s programs. Since 2005, the country’s economy has grown an average 5.7 percent each year. The number of people living in poverty has declined sharply to 11.5 percent from more than a third in 2006.

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