In the coming minutes, Uruguay's first presidential debate will take place barring some sort of labor dispute related work stoppage. The big picture in local electoral politics has moved little since the selection of candidates. On October 27th ballots will be case determining the composition of the legislature, and one month later there will be a run off for the presidency between the top two candidates. The one major change is that the Colorado Party has split into two. But first...
As with the internal elections the parties are distributing voting lists. The voters take this lists to their polling place where the go to the "secret room" sometimes refered to as the "dark room" and place up to, but no more than the allowable number of lists in their voting envelope. So far I have only seen National Party list distribution efforts in front of the Montevideo Shopping supporting Juan Sartori's 880 list and Jorge LarraÃ±aga's 2004 list. All lists from the same party support the same Presidential and vice presidential candidates. The lists vary in which legislators they support and are lead by Senate candidates. The lists go through the electoral court to establish what exactly each list means when it goes in the envelope. The electoral court is in small part an officiating crew and in large part a specialized form trademark docket. The most important element of the list when it comes to counting ballots is the number of the list.
Polling places may or may not have lists available for voters that failed to bring their desired lists, or the only lists available may be distasteful to those voters. Going into the secret envelope and submitting an empty envelope is common for logistical or ideological reasons.
Now let us consider the single major development.
Cabildo Abierto - The NEW, MILITANT Colorado Party.
After the Colorado party internals selected the Talvi fellow who identifies as an economist, a number of members of te old Red urban interest party immediately defected to the Open Council party and their nominee Guido Manini RÃos. Lately most polls show Cabildo Abierto in a tie with the old Colorado Party for third place. In the weeks since the Internals numerous old Colorado Party families quit their old Party and moved over to the new one.
It turns out that quite a few of the local old folks miss the quiet dictatorship days and not having bars on their windows. His economic program most closely resembles that put forward by Pepe Mujica's Espacio 609 brand of electoral lists which habitual campaigns on a "necesidad de avanzar hacia la revoluciÃ³n y el socialismo." This gives the former Army man something that seems like it would be weird crossover appeal anywhere else.
Both the new and old Colorado parties are polling around 10 to 13 percent in recent polls suggesting one will probably be a distant third place finisher with the other slotting into a close fourth place finish. As Uruguay does all of its national elections at the same time on a five year cycle, I don't expect the dust kicked up by this dispute to settle for another 15 to 25 years. In my reading the internal Colorado Party tensions around which this fault line finally cleaved predate Juan MarÃa Bordaberry's 1971 election.1
As the Old Colorado Party's candidate the Economist-identifying Ernesto Talvi's poll number fell after a brief post internal bump, Talvi has committed a number of unforced errors. While he is still the favored candidate of the "We can herp derp it!" Reddit crowd, he went beyond the state hiring freeze he proposed early in the campaign to call for eliminating 50,000 to 100,000 state "puestos de trabajo" in a hypothetical first year of his presidency. Between this, his proposal to do Uruguay's debt through New York Argentine style, and the impression there's crossover appeal between Talvi and the Frente's Social Democrats... the frente has been hammering away at Talvi like no one else. For comparison they've attacked Guido Manini RÃos for being a "facho" somewhat seriously to Guido's benefit, and they attack Lacalle Pou for being a "facho" somewhat laughably to Lacalle Pou's benefit.
The Legislative Component of The Election
Senators are apportioned based on the national vote. Deputies are assigned per department over Uruguay's 19 departments with a 2 deputy per department minimum and Montevideo claiming a large deputy quota. Polling has not been done at a resolution and frequency which supports predicting the allottment of deputies before the actual election. There is the possibility no party or coalitionable group of parties attains a legislative majority. There is potential for five years of lulz if the legislature is particularly fractured depending on where the faults lie.
The three major party presidential candidates that fail have senate Seats waiting for them. Some number of minor far left presidential candidates may get Senate seats.
Lacalle Pou has been pushing the need to cut ~900 million USD from the government's annual budget and do it carefully during the opening months of his very probable presidential term. This has the various socialist factions frothing as the local jurists and others support the legal mechanisms he proposes to do so. So far he and running mate haven't drawn substantial aggro they can't deflect by being folksy and insisting they will proceed with care. They frequently pose with adorable baby animals and the pictures of them doing so spread well.
Their post internal dustups were limited to personal ego disputes centered around second place finisher Juan Sartori's tactics in the internals. These stayed manageable enough that the infrastructure Sartori built for his presidential run is working on his Senate run and the National party.
The Blancos have not been actively engaging the other opposition parties. Instead they have been Frente Amplio politicans and largely dictating terms of the engagements by waiting for the left to say weird "intersectionalist" shit or those times where Mujica waxes poetically over his bank robbing days, and then they go for the throat. On social issues they've been clear that their cool with marijuana and gays, but they want to end the mommy state rulemaking wank.2
The Frente Amplio
The Uruguayan left is unenthused. The different kinds of socialist have all been campaigning within their own sectors with the only joint event of note being some sort of flag ceremony on Playa Ramirez, the most popular beach for Afro-religionists sacrificing to the sea goddesses. The communists and Popular Participationists are very unhappy the Social Democrats3 had the presidency 10 out of the last 15 years, and would have the presidency once again if Martinez wins.
The rising crime, the clumsy wtf way crime is increasing, and the inept reaction of knocking down random crack houses has done the Front no favors.
Mujica's been particularly vocal in his dissent with respect to the Social Democratic desire to mimick Oslo. He will schizotypically advocate "fairness" and other Osloifying evils and then condemn the effects in the same winding utterance. The guy decided to mount a Senate campaign this time around, so he can't stop uttering things in public. Outside his political sector he is deeply disliked in Uruguay. I suspect his internal Hegelian has broken.
I suspect in a truly locked legislature, some factions in the FA may break rank from time to time. In the short term however Pepe Mujica is out energizing the opposition and making his compatriots get down and smell their own shit.
- Shortly followed by Juan MarÃa Bordaberry's 1973 Coup known locally as the "Golpe de Estado", because being elected President doesn't suddenly make it impossible or undesirable to overthrow the government you head. [↩]
- Historically this has been the National Party's beef against the urban Colorados. [↩]
- "Professionals" working in or dependent on government. [↩]