World

Elegant Vazquez replaces folksy Mujica as Uruguay presidency remains with leftist coalition

  • A plane from the Iranian private airline, Mahan Air lands the international airport in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, March 1, 2015. The first direct flight from Iran to the rebel-held Yemeni capital arrived, Sunday, an Airbus 310 carrying Iranians including aid workers from the Iranian Red Crescent as Yemen's Shiite rebels formalize ties with the regional Shiite powerhouse. The rebels, who overran the capital, Sanaa, last September, are widely believed to have support from Iran, a claim they frequently denied. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

    A plane from the Iranian private airline, Mahan Air lands the international airport in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, March 1, 2015. The first direct flight from Iran to the rebel-held Yemeni capital arrived, Sunday, an Airbus 310 carrying Iranians including aid workers from the Iranian Red Crescent as Yemen's Shiite rebels formalize ties with the regional Shiite powerhouse. The rebels, who overran the capital, Sanaa, last September, are widely believed to have support from Iran, a claim they frequently denied. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • Uruguay's former President Jose Mujica and wife Lucia Topolansky greet supporters after the swearing-in ceremony for Uruguay's new President Tabare Vazquez at Independence Plaza in Montevideo, Uruguay, Sunday, March 1, 2015. Mujica, who still lives on a flower farm with his wife, rarely dons a tie and drives an old VW Beetle, has led Uruguay through stable economic growth and better wages. His social agenda has included laws approving gay marriage and the creation of the world's first national marketplace for legal marijuana. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)

    Uruguay's former President Jose Mujica and wife Lucia Topolansky greet supporters after the swearing-in ceremony for Uruguay's new President Tabare Vazquez at Independence Plaza in Montevideo, Uruguay, Sunday, March 1, 2015. Mujica, who still lives on a flower farm with his wife, rarely dons a tie and drives an old VW Beetle, has led Uruguay through stable economic growth and better wages. His social agenda has included laws approving gay marriage and the creation of the world's first national marketplace for legal marijuana. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)  (The Associated Press)

  • Uruguay's new President Tabare Vazquez, right, receives the presidential sash from Uruguay's outgoing President Jose Mujica during a ceremony at Independence Plaza in Montevideo, Uruguay, Sunday, March 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

    Uruguay's new President Tabare Vazquez, right, receives the presidential sash from Uruguay's outgoing President Jose Mujica during a ceremony at Independence Plaza in Montevideo, Uruguay, Sunday, March 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)  (The Associated Press)

One leftist leader has replaced another in Ecuador in a change seemingly marked more by style than differences in policy. The elegant Tabare Vazquez is taking over from the famously casual Jose Mujica, who formally left office in rubber-soled brown shoes.

Vazquez is a 75-year-old oncologist who was president from 2005 to 2010. He says he will allow the government to proceed with one of Mujica's most controversial initiatives. That's the creation of the world's first state-run marijuana marketplace, though Vazquez says he will change it if it has negative results.

Vazquez shook up Uruguayan politics when he became president the first time, peacefully ending 170 years of two-party dominance. But he governed as a relatively cautious moderate and left office with approval ratings of about 70 percent.