EspañolUruguay’s Vice President, Raúl Sendic, stepped down on Saturday, September 9, as his own party, the leftist Broad Front, inched closer to sanctioning him over a scandal involving the misuse of public funds.
Sendic announced the decision on his official Twitter account:
Presenté ante el Plenario del FA, mi renuncia indeclinable a la Vicepresidencia. Se lo comuniqué también al Presidente Tabaré Vázquez.
— Raúl Sendic (@RaulSendic_uy) September 9, 2017
“I have announced my resignation as vice president before Broad Front’s leadership. I have also communicated [my decision] to President Tabaré Vázquez”.
Sendic is under investigation for allegedly using corporate credit cards for private purchases while he headed the country’s state-run oil firm ANCAP.
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Shortly after the announcement, the video of Sendic’s announcement inside Broad Front’s headquarters emerged. In it, the former vice president chastises his fellow party members for lending credit to the accusations against him.
He also criticized the party’s disciplinary committee for revealing a report to the media even before the party leadership had the chance to read it.
The document says that Sendic’s actions while at the helm of ANCAP “endangers his ethical and political responsibilities, with repeated breaches of oversight rules” and that there is no room for doubt regarding his “unacceptable behavior while using public funds.”
In the case of vacancy at the Vice Presidency, Uruguay’s Constitution establishes that the post should be taken up by the legislator who garnered the most votes in the preceding election. That would be Senator José Mujica, but he is disqualified for being a former president. Next on the list is Senator Lucía Topolansky, Mujica’s wife and also a prominent politician within the ruling Broad Front party.
Topolansky, a former socialist guerrilla member, said Sendic’s resignation was a “sad” event and asked for a calm succession.
Sendic’s tumultuous resignation, and in particular his criticism of party leader Javier Miranda, has divided the Broad Front. Even though there were factions that called for his resignation, the majority wanted him to remain on the post, including President Tabaré Vázquez, who claimed his running mate was the victim of a smear campaign.