Ex-Mayor, Senator Leading Uruguay Presidential Primaries

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Uruguayan primary elections look set to pit a former mayor against a senator in the presidential vote in October, according to early exit polls Sunday evening in the South American country.

Polls after ballots closed showed former Montevideo mayor Daniel Martinez and Senator Luis Lacalle Pou winning the nominations for Broad Front and the National Party respectively, the two main factions expected to battle in out later this year.

Data from the three main local pollsters Cifra, Equipos and Opcion, after voting closed at 7:30 p.m. indicated that Ernesto Talvi looked set to be the candidate for the Colorado Party, the third main political faction.

Uruguay’s electoral court has not yet given official data.

Martinez, a 62-year-old engineer, beat out Carolina Cosse, former Minister of Industry whose candidacy was backed by ex-President Jose Mujica. Also competing were former Central Bank president Mario Bergara and trade unionist Oscar Andrade.

Lacalle Pou, 44, a lawyer and the son of former President Luis Alberto Lacalle, was facing Senator Jorge Larranaga and businessman Juan Sartori, who joined the party at the end of last year and had been surging lately in the polls.

Talvi, a 62-year-old economist, is a relative newcomer with the Colorado Party, but looks to have beaten out more experienced rival Julio Maria Sanguinetti, an 83-year-old lawyer who was the country’s president twice before.

Overall polls ahead of the Oct. 27 election currently suggests a closely fought race between the Broad Front party and the National Party, with a likely run-off in November, which happens if there is no clear winner in the first round.

The next president, who will take over from incumbent Tabare Vazquez, will need to revive economic growth in the country that is expected to grow less than 1% this year, after the farming-heaving economy was hit by droughts and floods.

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