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Former Guerilla Leader Wins Uruguay Election


Results show Jose Mujica, a former leftist rebel who spent 14 years in prison, was elected president Sunday after gaining a little over 50 percent of the vote

A former guerilla leader who campaigned on a platform of continuing the ruling party's moderate policies has won Uruguay's presidential run-off election.

Results show Jose Mujica, a former leftist rebel who spent 14 years in prison, was elected president on Sunday after gaining a little over 50 percent of the vote. His opponent, former president Luis Alberto Lacalle, conceded the election.

In a jubilant victory speech Sunday night, Mr. Mujica thanked a crowd of cheering supporters as well as his rivals and President Tabare Vazquez.

Mr. Mujica will replace President Vazquez, who is barred from seeking a second consecutive term. His victory keeps the center-left Broad Front coalition in power for another five years.

Mr. Mujica has pledged to unite the country using dialogue and diplomacy, citing Brazil's President (Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva) as a role model. He has also promised to maintain the fiscal policies of the popular Vazquez administration, which have helped Uruguay's economy expand despite the global recession.

In the 1960s, Mr. Mujica was part of the Tupamaro guerrilla movement that used bank robberies, political killings and kidnappings to fight Uruguay's conservative government.

He was imprisoned during most of Uruguay's military dictatorship from 1973 to 1985.

Uruguay organized Sunday's run-off vote after Mr. Mujica fell just short of winning an absolute majority in the October election.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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