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MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay – 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.