Uruguay's former President and current Senator Jose “Pepe” Mujica says he is not surprised by the resignation of the nation's Vice-President Raul Sendic.
But Mujica warned that the governing coalition could lose its majority in parliament as a result of Sendic's decision.
In an interview with Telenoche, Mujica said he expected Sendic to make such a “rational decision,” but it may lead to the former Vice-President's party, Lista 711, splitting from the progressive coalition, the Broad Front.
Lista 711, with six representatives and two senators, said earlier that it would not tolerate any sanctions against Sendic from its coalition partners.
“During the discussion, no one thought about what could happen with the possible votes supporting the government in Parliament. And this is a group of comrades with maybe four or five votes,” Mujica said.
In his opinion, it was appropriate to take measures against “errors,” but also to avoid "offending" the government's allies to the point where it could lose its majority in Congress, which would be very “serious in the short term.”
Sendic announced that he was stepping down from his post on Saturday.
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 presented to the plenary of the FA (Broad Front), my definitive resignation from the Vice-Presidency," Sendic wrote on his Twitter account.
"I also informed President Tabare Vazquez."
Sendic, who has served as vice president since March 2015, has been accused of using funds from Uruguay's state-owned oil company Ancap to shop for personal items, including clothing, jewelry and electronics, Infobae reported. A local magazine published an article last week detailing those expenses.
After the expenses were disclosed, Sendic participated in internal Broad Front judiciary meetings to evaluate his alleged misuse of Ancap's credit card. He served as vice president of the oil company between 2005 and 2009 and president between 2009 and 2013.
The Broad Front subsequently ruled against him, pointing out that "the general picture of the acts outlined leaves no doubt about declaring unacceptable the personal use of public money."
Sendic previously worked as a journalist and an activist for the leftist Broad Front party.
Lucia Topolansky, wife of former President Jose Mujica, was selected to replace Sendic as vice president shortly after he resigned.