October 28, 2019 / 9:53 PM / 21 days ago

Uruguay's ruling party takes blame for likely ouster in vote next month

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - A senior figure in Uruguay’s longtime ruling party said on Monday it had failed to drive home its achievements with voters, as it appeared increasingly likely it would lose power in a second-round vote next month.

José Bayardi, the country’s defence minister, told a press conference the Broad Front ruling coalition had “not worked politically to help people make the link between the transformation process they have lived through and what brought that about”.

He said the party, which has run the country along liberal lines for the past 14 years, would have to work harder to highlight its achievements and not lose the November runoff.

With 99% of the votes counted from Sunday’s first-round, the Broad Front’s presidential candidate Daniel Martinez won 39% compared to just under 29% for Luis Lacalle Pou of the right-leaning National Party.

The presidential candidates of the poll runners up, the Colorado Party and the Open Cabildo, said they would throw their support behind Lacalle in the runoff, handing the National Party leader an almost certain victory.

Pablo da Silveira, Lacalle’s chief adviser, told local media on Monday the National Party would “continue and deepen” a series of meetings in the coming days with other parties who could form part of a new coalition government.

Reporting by Fabien Wernier; Writing by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Tom Brown

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