Uruguay A blunt-talking former guerrilla seeking to maintain the left’s hold on power in Uruguay easily got the most votes in presidential elections Sunday, but failed to win the majority needed to avoid a runoff.
Jose “Pepe” Mujica got about 48 percent of the votes compared with 30 percent for former president Luis Alberto LaCalle, a free-marketeer who wants to cut government and taxes and reduce alliances with Latin American leftists.
Two voter initiatives — one to remove amnesty for human rights abuses under the 1973-85 dictatorship and another to enable mail-in votes by citizens living outside Uruguay — also failed to win majorities, according to exit polls by the companies Cifra, Factum and Equipos Mori. The Electoral Court was expected to release most official results today.
Mujica and his vice-presidential candidate, Danilo Astori, conceded that a runoff would be necessary.