Jose Mujica, is set to bow out as the president of Uruguay. The 79 years old is known as the world poorest president, not because he didn’t have the opportunity to be rich, but he chose to help others at his own expense.
Mujica’s tenure encompassed the creation of a yet-to-be-implemented state-run marijuana industry, as well as the legalization of abortion and same-s*x marriage.
Known affectionately as “Pepe”, Mujica is internationally renowned for his progressive social policies, donating 90 percent of his salary to charity, and remaining in his small farmhouse rather than moving into the presidential residence.
A former guerrilla Marxist who spent more than a decade in solitary confinement, his gentle, informal mien has begotten affection and support from many Uruguayans.
Presidents in Uruguay are constitutionally limited to non-consecutive five-year terms, and Mujica is barred from seeking a second term. However, he was elected a senator in the October elections, and will remain a powerful voice in the government.
José Bayardi, the minister of labour and social security and former minister of defence in Vázquez’ first term, told Al Jazeera if Vázquez is elected, there won’t be any upsets to Mujica’s programmes.
“I think that the overall programme that the Frente Amplio has developed in terms of economic policy, social policy, and the development of the country isn’t going to suffer any big changes. You might see a different style in moving these policies forward, but there won’t be big changes,” Bayardi said.
Uruguay’s next president faces the big tasks of Marijuana industrialization and signing Gay marriage into law.