Uruguay's President Tabare Vazquez will head a group of ministers who will assist the government its institutions during a period of transition to a situation of “normalcy” following the resignation of the South American country's vice president, Raul Sendic.
Vasquez claims that he didn't request the resignation, which followed accusations that Sendic used funds from Uruguay's state-owned oil company Ancap to shop for personal items, including clothing, jewelry and electronics.
“I wasn't going to ask for the resignation, firstly because it didn't have to do with my actions and also because I considered it a personal matter" for Sendic to determine, he added. The Uruguayan head of state also said that he appreciated the management capabilities of Sendic while also noting the need for ethically using government funds and allowances provided to officials.
"If you made mistakes you have to mark these mistakes, you have to firmly correct them,” Vazquez said.
Vazquez noted, however, that in his experience Sendic fulfilled his role in a "wholesome, serious and responsible manner" while working "with honesty, capacity and commitment to the people and to the program of the government."
Vazquez also congratulated Senator Lucia Topolansky, who will assume the role of vice president. Topolansky is the wife of former President Jose Mujica.
"I want to publicly express my congratulations to the comrade with whom I am honored to begin working," Vazquez said.
Sendic presented his irrevocable resignation on Saturday to Vazquez and a plenary session of the leftist ruling party Frente Amplio, or Broad Front.
An internal Broad Front hearing ruled against Sendic, pointing out that "the general picture of the acts outlined leaves no doubt about the unacceptable personal use of public money."
He served as vice president of the oil company between 2005 and 2009 and president between 2009 and 2013. Prior to that, Sendic was a journalist and activist for the Broad Front.