Uruguay headed for presidential runoff next month

<div data-recalc-dims=Luis Alberto Lacalle, who served as president from 1990-1995, predicted victory in the runoff.

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A former guerrilla fighter jailed for 14 years and an ex-president were headed for a runoff next month for the presidency of Uruguay, after neither was expected to capture more than 50 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election.

Mujica had led in two polls last week, but both showed him falling short of the 50-percent-plus-one vote he needed to win outright. Known to his supporters as El Pepe, Mujica belongs to the same Broad Front Party as popular current President Tabare Vazquez Rosas. Both men are considered leftists. Lacalle is considered more conservative. Some analysts say neither Mujica nor Lacalle is likely to take Uruguay down a different path. “You’d scarcely notice a difference in terms of which one of them is elected,” said Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, a liberal Washington-based think tank. Bruce Bagley, dean of the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Miami, said, “They both fit into the mold of Venezuelan leaders in recent years.”