Uruguay’s left-wing candidate Tabare Vazquez of the Broad Front party has topped the polls in the first round of presidential elections.
Mr Vazquez, who was president of Uruguay from 2005-10 and is endorsed by outgoing Jose Mujica, had won 46.9 per cent of the vote with 98 per cent of votes counted.
It was way ahead of 30.7 per cent for right-wing candidate Luis Lacalle Pou, but fell short of the crucial 50 per cent mark needed for a one-round victory.
This means the left faces a tough challenge in the second round, as third-placed conservative Red Party candidate Pedro Bordaberry won 13 per cent and immediately said he would back Mr Pou.
The next vote will take place in five weeks.
Mr Vazquez said his party would not compromise on its agenda beforehand. “We aren’t going to run to any side.
“The ideas, the projects, the history — we must promote them.”