Uruguay votes for new president; legalisation of abortion, gay marriage, marijuana reform hangs in balance

October 26, 2014 4:17 PM

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Uruguay votes for new president; legalisation of abortion, gay marriage, marijuana reform hangs in balance

Uruguayans vote on Sunday in a presidential election with the ruling leftist party trying to fend off a young center-right challenger who promises to undo a pioneering marijuana law. Outgoing President Jose Mujica, a 79-year-old former guerrilla, is seeking to hand power back to his predecessor Tabare Vazquez. Between them, Mujica and the 74-year-old Vazquez have delivered a decade of strong economic growth while Mujica legalised abortion, gay marriage and the production, distribution and sale of marijuana.

Six months ago, the left-wing Broad Front ruling coalition looked a comfortable favorite to win the presidency for a third five-year term for its blend of pro-market economic policies and social welfare measures. But after an unexpected win in the National Party's primaries, Luis Lacalle Pou, 41, ha...

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