the second round results too tight for the winner

Luis Lacalle Pou would have a short lead over his opponent. SANTIAGO MAZZAROVITCH / AP

"We must redouble patience and prudence. " The drawn traits, Luis Lacalle Pou called on his supporters to wait for the final results of the second round of the presidential election, held Sunday, November 24 in Uruguay. According to the first official results, the candidate of a broad coalition on the right is one point ahead of his competitor, Daniel Martinez, the representative of Frente Amplio ("Extended Front"), the leftwing coalition in power since 2005. "This situation is completely unexpected"says Veronica Perez, a professor of political science at the University of the Republic (Montevideo), who recalls that "The polls gave Mr. Lacalle Pou an advantage of 5 to 8 points".

The difference between the two candidates, of less than 30,000 votes – out of 2.7 million voters – does not allow the Electoral Court, for the time being, to nominate the winner of this election. The proceeding still has to count and count ballot papers for some 35,000 people – voters who did not vote in their regular constituency, and whose ballots are only considered after polls close. The final results of the presidential election should not fall before Tuesday, November 26, at the earliest.

"In theory, it is not impossible that the trend favorable to Mr. Lacalle Pou is reversed with these newsletters that remain to be examined, but this seems very unlikely", says Veronica Perez. Luis Lacalle Pou, 46, former Senator of the National Party (center right) and son of former President Luis Lacalle, for his part felt that the trend in his favor given by the first results was "Irreversible".

Central Right Coalition on the far right

"We are convinced that the 1st March (2020, the date of the inauguration of the next President, who will replace Tabaré Vazquez, who has been in power since 2015)it's a multicolored government that will take office in our country "said Mr. Lacalle Pou, referring to the coalition of five parties – from the center right to the far right – he gathered behind his candidacy during the inter-two-round, and whose leaders were present on stage, in Montevideo, Sunday.

A few kilometers away, still in the Uruguayan capital, it was while dancing that Daniel Martinez received his good score: "They tried to bury us, but they did not know we are seeds! " exclaimed, euphoric, the candidate of the center-left coalition.

The former mayor of Montevideo, 62, who led the first round of the presidential election on 27 October (he had obtained 39% of the votes against 28% for Luis Lacalle Pou), was a loser to the broad coalition formed by his opponent. However, "Mr. Martinez comes out of this vote, analyzes the political scientist Antonio Cardarello, if his defeat is confirmed, it would be the most acceptable for the Frente Amplio ". "This result proves that, contrary to Luis Lacalle Pou's assertion in the campaign, there is not a majority of Uruguayans calling for change", compliments the political analyst Veronica Perez.

"We must unite this society"

Mr. Lacalle Pou seems to have taken note: "We must unite this society and the Uruguayans (…) I am sure that all will collaborate"he said Sunday night. Before leaving the scene, the candidate has reaffirmed some axes of his program: reforming the education system – more than one teenager out of two does not finish high school – and stimulate the economy of the country, which idles after years of high increase.

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If elected, Luis Lacalle Pou will also have much to do with his broad coalition, in which are already emerging tensions, particularly provoked by the controversial personality of Guido Manini Rios, the founder of the new right-wing party Cabildo Abierto, who won 11% of the vote in the first round of the presidential election. On Saturday, November 23, the former commander-in-chief of the army, dismissed in March for criticizing the trials of the military dictatorship (1973-1985), broadcast a video calling on the Uruguayan military not to vote for the Frente Amplio, whose representatives "Did not stop mocking those who wear a uniform".

For the political scientist Veronica Perez, this type of outings "Recalls the trauma of dark periods in Uruguayan history". Many analysts believe that this statement, embarrassing for the multicolored coalition, could have a negative effect on the score of Luis Lacalle Pou. "Cabildo Abierto has moved the multicolored coalition far more to the right, explains Mme Perez, who questions the ability to govern the future government, whatever it is. If Daniel Martinez wins, he will not have a majority in Parliament. If it's Luis Lacalle Pou, he'll have the majority, but only if he manages to keep this unusual coalition united. "

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