Excitement is in the air. Even though Uruguay's presidential elections were yesterday, we still don't know who will be president next year. None of the candidates won a majority (50 percent plus 1 vote) to win the first round of elections, which means there will be a "balotaje" (runoff) in November.
Pepe Mujica from the Frente Amplio got 47.5% of the votes, Luis Lacalle from Partido Nacional (or Blanco) got 28.5%, Pedro Bordaberry from the Colorados got 16.7%.
I happened to make it to both the Frente Amplio and Partido Nacional celebrations in Ciudad Vieja. Kudos to the Frente for more fun-ness. Their supporters were a bit more in number and animation. People were chanting, waving flags, jumping, painting faces, parading down the street, and watching fireworks. They expected a big win last night, and were slightly disappointed to have to wait till the runoff to vote Pepe again. The Colorado celebration was a little more low-key, largely reflective of their typical demographic. I'm excited to see if the November 29th election will be a close one or not.
As with the presidential vote, neither of the 2 referendums (to annul the amnesty law or to let Uruguayans living abroad vote) got a majority either which means neither of them will pass. I am actually really surprised that the amnesty law will remain intact. It seemed like public sentiment swayed toward repealling the law, yet it only received a 47.36% yes-vote. I suppose visibility isn't always the most accurate indicator of voting behavior. Seems like most Uruguayans want to keep the past in the past, even if it means leaving a few human rights violations go unpunished. If the law were repealed there would be a BIG mess to sort out. (A mess just as problematic as not repealing the law? We'll never know.)