World

Former President Vazquez favored as Uruguayans choose new leader

  • Tabare Vazquez, center right, presidential candidate for the ruling Broad Front party, embraces a follower after voting during the presidential runoff election, Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014, in Montevideo, Uruguay. Vazquez, a former president, is favored to win the runoff on the back of a strong economy. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)

    Tabare Vazquez, center right, presidential candidate for the ruling Broad Front party, embraces a follower after voting during the presidential runoff election, Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014, in Montevideo, Uruguay. Vazquez, a former president, is favored to win the runoff on the back of a strong economy. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)  (The Associated Press)

  • Uruguay's president, Jose Mujica, casts his vote during the presidential runoff election, Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014, in Montevideo, Uruguay. Broad Front coalition candidate and former president Tabare Vazquez is favored to win the runoff on the back of a strong economy. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

    Uruguay's president, Jose Mujica, casts his vote during the presidential runoff election, Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014, in Montevideo, Uruguay. Broad Front coalition candidate and former president Tabare Vazquez is favored to win the runoff on the back of a strong economy. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)  (The Associated Press)

  • Tabare Vazquez, presidential candidate for the ruling Broad Front party, casts his vote in the presidential runoff election Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014, in Montevideo, Uruguay. Vazquez is favored to win the presidential runoff election Sunday on the back of a strong economy. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)

    Tabare Vazquez, presidential candidate for the ruling Broad Front party, casts his vote in the presidential runoff election Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014, in Montevideo, Uruguay. Vazquez is favored to win the presidential runoff election Sunday on the back of a strong economy. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)  (The Associated Press)

Tabare Vazquez shook up Uruguayan politics when he became president in 2005, peacefully ending 170 years of two-party dominance. Now, as Uruguayans vote on Sunday, he's the face of continuity as he seeks to extend his left-leaning coalition's decade in power.

A series of pre-election polls give Vazquez a roughly 10-point lead over his rival, Luis Lacalle Pou of the conservative National Party in the South American nation of 3.2 million people.

Tall and trim, the 74-year-old oncologist is almost the physical opposite of outgoing President Jose Mujica, who is short, paunchy and famously informal. But both support social programs that have improved life for the poor as well as continuing moderate economic policies.