Progressive Senator Lucia Topolansky has become the first woman to appointed as the Vice-President in the country's history, a few days after Raul Sendic resigned, officially over "personal reasons".
Topolansky, who will be in charge of negotiating between the government and the Congress, said she was optimistic about her term, adding that legislation on pensions, femicides and the reform of the military are among her top priorities.
The 73-year-old started her activism in high school. As a member of the underground Tupamaros movement, she was imprisoned and tortured during the dictatorship from 1972-1985. She joined the Broad Front coalition when democracy was restored in the country and co-founded the Movement for People's Participation, or MPP.
Uruguay's President Tabare Vazquez held his first talks with her since at the presidential palace.
On September 18, Topolansky will occupy the presidency on an interim basis, while Vazquez attends the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Topolansky has been elected as a representative since 2000, before becoming the second most elected senator in 2014 — justifying her appointment at the vice presidency three years later.
The first most elected senator was her husband Jose “Pepe” Mujica, who constitutionally cannot be appointed vice president because of his previous mandate as the country's president.
Sendic's resignation on Saturday followed accusations that he had used funds from Uruguay's state-owned oil company Ancap to shop for personal items, including clothing, jewelry and electronics.
He served as vice president at the firm between 2005 and 2009 and president between 2009 and 2013. Prior to that, Sendic was a journalist and activist for the Broad Front.
In an interview with local media, Senator Leonardo de Leon said Sendic will run for the 2019 presidential elections as the leader of the Lista 711, a party belonging to the Broad Front coalition.